Composting in an Apartment

Jan 13, 2020by Olivia - F&F

One of the main questions we get asked about here at Flora & Fauna is how to compost in an apartment or small living space. 

Composting your food scraps at home is one of the easiest things you can do to nourish your house plants and reduce your carbon footprint – plus, anyone can do it! But if you live in an apartment, you’re likely to have some questions about the whole process.

The easiest way to compost your food scraps in a small space is with the Urban Composter City Starter Kit. This nifty little 8L composting system can be placed under your sink or anywhere in your apartment. Lids are available in four different colours (Chili, Berry, Lime or Black).

The four-step system is incredibly simple:

  1. THROW any food scraps (vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, wilted flowers, tea bags, dairy, coffee) into the composter bucket, ensuring they have been cut into small pieces. It can basically compost anything!
  2. SPRAY with the Compost Accelerator Spray. The vegan citrus-based spray is filled with microorganisms that will ferment and break down the left-over food scraps.
  3. DRAIN the juice from the bucket every few days. The juice, or ‘compost tea’, is filled with good bacteria and nutrients. It can be diluted and added to indoor plants. You can also flush it down the toilet if you don’t need it.
  4. MIX the fermented scraps into a large tub of soil, an outdoor composter or a worm farm. The scraps will break down in about 6 weeks. The resulting compost is ready to use on your plants when it’s dark, crumbly and mostly broken down with an earthy, soil-like smell to it.

Now, let’s address some of your questions!

We know what you’re thinking: If it’s inside my apartment, won’t it smell?

The answer is no! The anaerobic composting system uses the microorganisms in the Compost Accelerator spray to ferment food without any nasty smells. The spray is highly acidic, so your food scraps effectively pickle in the bucket without attracting pests or producing methane. Plus, the sophisticated and sturdy design of the Urban Composter means that no smells can escape.

It's essential, however, to drain your Urban Composter every few days to avoid foul odours. If your Urban Composter develops a decaying smell or black mould (which is quite rare), make sure to bury the remaining scraps with some accelerator spray and then wash your Urban Composter with a small amount of water and vinegar. Don’t use anything too harsh!

Compost tea for your plants

What can I do with the liquid from my Urban Composter?

The liquid that you drain from your Urban Composter is a superfood for your plants! It can be diluted (1:100) and fed to your plants as ‘compost tea’. Compost tea is packed with nutrients and can minimise the risk of your plants becoming diseased.

What happens when my Urban Composter is full?

To ensure that all your food scraps are properly fermented, it’s best to leave it alone for a couple of weeks – what you will be left with is the pulp. Now, you need to figure out where to bury your pulp. For apartment-dwellers, we recommend mixing the pulp into a large tub filled with equal parts soil. The tub could be placed on your balcony or on the ground level. Alternatively, you can buy two Urban Composter’s and have one for fermenting and one for composting. Once your pulp is thoroughly mixed into a tub or bucket of soil, cover it with dry soil and leave it for 6-10 weeks to fully decompose. Once it is dark, dry and crumbly – it’s ready to use as fertiliser for your indoor plants!

As a last resort, you can put your fermented food scraps in the bin. You have effectively reduced the volume of your food waste by 300% and reduced the amount of methane going into the atmosphere.

Scraps that are properly fermented

Burying your pulp

What can I do with my compost?

You can use your compost as fertiliser for your indoor plants, a nearby outdoor garden or a community garden. Your local council may even do organic waste pick-ups, or you can use online resources like ShareWaste, which is an Aussie founded website connecting you with nearby neighbours who require your compost. It’s simple to use and super rewarding!

The Urban Composter City is such a great innovation for apartment-dwellers and those living in small spaces. No matter where you live – you can do your part for the environment and nourish your indoor plants at the same time. Give it a go!

Still have some questions? Leave them down in the comments below or read our beginner's guide to composting for more information.

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