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  • AntoineR

A Beginner's Guide to Composting Food Scraps at Home and in a Flat

Composting leftover food and/or yard waste at home is one of the best ways to reduce methane emissions from landfills while creating nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden or indoor plants.

Food scraps and a compost bin on a counter

Composting is the process of recycling food scraps and yard waste into a fertilizer or soil amendment for your garden. It's an eco-friendly solution that offers many benefits such as:

  • Reducing landfill waste and methane emissions. Organic materials like food scraps create methane gas when buried in landfills. Composting lowers greenhouse gases by improving carbon sequestration in the soil.

  • Creating free, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Compost contains nitrogen, phosphorus and minerals that are slowly released to nourish plants and improve soil health.

  • Improving soil texture and water retention. Adding compost to soil helps soils better absorb and retain moisture.

  • Promoting healthy plant growth. The nutrients, beneficial microbes and organic matter in compost all lead to healthier plants.

  • Saving money. Making your own compost can reduce or eliminate the need to buy commercial fertilizers and soil amendments.

Composting is relatively simple and can be done on any scale from backyard bins to larger community systems.

How to Compost in a Flat or Apartment

You don't need a large garden or yard to compost your food scraps! With a little creativity, you can absolutely compost food waste responsibly in a flat. Here are a few tips to help you divert bits of food waste from landfills and make a positive difference from your apartment.


Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, is a great option for small indoor spaces. Worm composting bins take up little room under your sink or in a closet. The worms efficiently break down food scraps into a nutrient-rich fertilizer called worm castings. Vermicomposting bins don't smell if maintained properly. Worm castings can be used to fertilize houseplants or outdoor community gardens.

Municipal Composting Programs & Community Composting Sites

Many cities now offer municipal composting programs where residents can drop off food scraps at designated public sites. These are often free to use for local residents. Check if your city has such a program and locate the nearest drop-off site. Then collect your food scraps in a bin in your freezer until you have a large batch to transport to the site.

Some community gardens, urban farms, or neighbors accept food scraps for large shared compost piles. Use apps like ShareWaste or Craigslist to locate participating sites in your area. Drop off a bucket of your frozen food scraps periodically at a community composting hub near you to divert waste responsibly.

If you're not sure where to go to compost your food scraps, you can also check the ShareWaste app, a community driven app allowing you to find members of your local community with a compost who are willing to accept your food scraps in their compost.

Bokashi Composting

Bokashi composting involves fermenting food scraps in an airtight bin with bran inoculant to reduce odor and volume before transferring the scraps to an outdoor compost pile or municipal site. Bokashi kits work very well for apartment kitchens as they take up little space and the fermented scraps don't smell. You simply bury the fermented scraps into a shared outdoor compost bin when ready.

Balcony or Patio Composting

For those with an outdoor space, balcony or patio composting is possible with the right bins. Select compost bins with tight sealing lids and air vents to prevent odor issues for neighbors. Turn the compost regularly and talk to nearby residents before starting an outdoor composter. Place the bin in a shady spot and avoid meat and dairy scraps.

With these solutions, you are fully equipped to start composting your organic waste responsibly. You'll be amazed at how quickly food scraps accumulate, making composting meaningful even without a yard. Give it a try - every bit of food waste you divert from landfills makes a positive impact! And don't forget, your compost will make your plants thrive!

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