Apartment Composting :)

I’ve been in bed with a nasty cold for a few days and am happy SF has municipal composting so all of my tissues can go right in there. It’s hard to be ‘green’ when you’re sick- I don’t want to do anything but I can handle bringing my tissues downstairs to the composting bin. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a city that has municipal composting (it’s incredible- everything can go in, milk cartons, chinese food containers, pizza boxes!), and you don’t have a backyard, you can try apartment composting. In New York We actually kept all of our compost in a bag in the freezer (yes I know it doesn’t break down there), and then once a week I brought it to the union square farmers market where they have a composting bin that anyone can add to and plastic bag recycling. I also sometimes would bring it to whole foods if I was feeling lazier and add it to their compost!

Most people shy away from composting in their apartment because of the worms. I have never had worms so I can’t totally attest to it, but I think an even easier solution might be what my brother (yes the Republican) is trying in LA. He’s following a no-worm plan where the basics are just air, giving it a good stir often, and they’re starting with just veggies before diving into everything. I think its important to start small and see what you can handle – does it smell? Is it leaking? Do you have the time? Starting with some basic veggies that break down quickly can help you ease into the process so you aren’t totally overwhelmed. Here’s the plan they are trying out:

1.Determine the best place for compost: Under the sink, in a closet, on the balcony, in a window flower box.

2.Obtain something to compost in: A plastic/metal box, a garbage can.

3.Punch holes in the base and sides of your composting box.

4.Get a tarp or a tray to go under your compost box.

5.You will need some soil or fertilizer to start. Place a three-inch layer of soil into the box. You will also need to sprinkle in a handful or two of dry bedding. This can be leaves, newspaper, (no colored inks or glossy mags) straw, dry grass clippings, cardboard, nutshells.

6.Learn what can be composted and what cannot.

7.Shred, pulverize, cut your compostables as finely as possible to speed process.

8.Add equal parts dry bedding to the compost heap.

9.Stir the compost every week or two.

10.Add a handful of fresh soil every fortnight to refresh microbe supply.

11.If composter emits odor, add more dry bedding. If it?s dripping liquids, add more dry bedding.

12.Create another compost box.

13.Once your original box begins to get full, scoop out fine soil-like compost into your new box. You should have one box for finished compost and one box for compost in the making.

Using Your Compost

Now that you have a compost bin. You?re going to want to use your compost. Here are some suggestions.

1.Potted plants. 2.Bush outside. 3.Flower pots. 4.Neighborhood composting projects where applicable. 5.Community flower garden. 6.The park. 7.Offer it up as fertilizer on Craigslist. 8.Rooftop garden.

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