Let’s Start Composting!
Before starting, everyone needs to make four basic choices about their home composting system: whether it should be indoors or outdoors, hot or cold, aerobic or anaerobic, and finally, whether it should be a batch system or a continuous one.
If this seems a bit overwhelming, bear in mind that you may have made half these decisions already. When most people decide to start composting, they’re talking about an outdoor bin, and whether they know the term or not, they want an aerobic process, since it’s quick and odorless. If you start off wanting a hot pile, all the other choices are already made: it’s going to be an outdoor, aerobic, batch system. (There are kitchen composters for indoor hot composting.)
Each of the options is outlined in the page on Composting Types, along with links to pages with more information. At the end of that page there’s a graph that lets you see how the different criteria match up with each other. Consult it to see if a hot system can be operated indoors or outdoors, if it involves aerobic or anaerobic bacteria and if it requires a batch or a continuous system.
Once those basic decisions are made, it’s time to get more specific. Suppose you’ve decided to compost outside. Do you want to build a pile, or bury your waste in the garden? If you have primarily kitchen waste and grass clippings to dispose of, perhaps an anaerobic digester would be best. If you’re in an apartment and you’re looking for a way to dispose of kitchen waste, you’ll want to check out the various indoor systems. The Composting Systems page gives an overview of each of these possibilities; each is discussed in more detail on the pages devoted to Building A Compost Pile, Compost Digesters, and Kitchen Composting.