Live in an apartment but still want to keep your kitchen scraps out of the landfill? Indoor composting in your kitchen or closet makes it easy to compost year-round.
#1 Indoor Composter
In 2006, we Americans composted almost 65% of our yard waste and over 50% of used paper and cardboard but only 2.6 % of our food waste. We are currently throwing away almost 32 million tons of food and kitchen scraps a year. Most of it goes to landfills where it produces damaging methane gas and a variety of other environmental problems.
Indoor systems that make it easy to compost food could keep millions of tons of garbage out of landfills. Kitchen systems make composting available to people living in apartments and crowded urban environments, they make it easy for people who don’t want to slog through snow or mud to a compost pile during the coldest months of the year, and they make composting available to people who may not be well or strong enough to deal with an outdoor compost pile.
At Planet Natural we have everything you need for turning kitchen scraps — including meat, bones and dairy — into nutrient rich soil supplements without the usual mess and odors, including attractive pails for collecting your kitchen throwaways.
The claim that one can compost indoors may still raise eyebrows or draw forth hoots of derision in some circles, but increasing numbers of people are doing it. Most practice vermicomposting — worm composting — becoming what Mary Appelhof, the queen of vermicomposting, called “worm workers.” This method involves feeding vegetable scraps to worms kept in a special bin which can sit on a small table. Their offal, or castings, are amongst the richest and most highly prized of soil amendments.
A much smaller number of people are familiar with Bokashi composting which, like vermicomposting can be done indoors but which requires little in the way of special equipment — an airtight bokashi bucket and some inoculating material, which can be either bought, made with a store-bought starter, or made entirely from scratch.
Very recently, a whole new technology has been developed: indoor hot composters. For traditional gardeners, this is almost a contradiction in terms: hot composting means a pile that’s too big to manage indoors. The new composters aren’t the size of a traditional pile (thank goodness) and can’t handle that quantity of material; like Bokashi and vermicomposting, they’re primarily designed to dispose of kitchen waste. Despite their small size (20″x20″x12″), they can process 120 pounds of waste a month, as much as most families of five produce.
Several companies are producing these, but where the Panasonic costs close to $900, the NatureMill ULTRA costs less than half that (about $400), and the METRO a hundred dollars less again. The ULTRA appears to differ primarily in being a sturdier version of the METRO, with a three-year rather than a one-year warranty. They do require power, but much less than others on the market, or than you might expect: about ten watts. The power drives a small fan which ensures that the compost stays aerobic, but the composting heat itself is used to run some of the functions.
What products to compost
You will be able to source all of the essential elements in order to build a great compost pile without having to look too far! As long as your carbon to nitrogen ratio is optimal (25-30:1) your compost pile will be breaking down properly. Here are some lists of acceptable additions:
Carbon Rich Material "Browns"
Cardboard (free of dyes)
Stems & twigs
Nitrogen Rich Material "Greens"
Kitchen food waste
Weeds (that have NOT gone to seed)
Things to Avoid
Diseased plant material
Manures from carnivorous animals
As for the rhododendron and holly leaves, you can definitely put them in your compost pile. However, it is a good idea to really chop or shred them up, as they take much longer to break down due to their fibrous and waxy make up. It really depends on how quickly you are trying to create usable compost. It might be a good idea to have a separate pile going that you incorporate those leaves into and another pile that you do not. That way you can have a pile you know will rapidly break down into garden goodness and have yet another ready to use later on. Good luck!
Can O Worms Bin
A quick, odorless and space efficient way to recycle scraps and peelings -- year round!
Red Wiggler Worms
Red wigglers (Eisenia foetida) convert food waste into nutrient-rich castings.
Bokashi Bucket Kit
NO turning! Uses beneficial bacteria to quickly ferment table scraps.