Jun 17, 2021
Food waste is a serious environmental issue, but there’s one effective way you can help fight it: composting. Even if you live in an apartment building, there are several ways you can compost your food waste. Here’s everything you need to know to get started:
What is composting?
Composting is a process used to “recycle” organic matter, such as food scraps. Combining organic matter in a compost pile allows it to decompose, creating a nutrient-rich compost that can be used as a natural fertilizer to enrich soil—reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Compostable materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, egg shells, corn cobs, flowers, fresh grass clippings, garden waste, dry leaves, shredded paper, and wood chips.
Composting keeps food waste out of landfills, where it releases harmful methane gas—a greenhouse gas that’s 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Food waste is responsible for a large percentage of global emissions. In fact, the UN estimates that if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China! Composting is a simple yet effective way we can keep food waste out of landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How do I compost at home?
Even if you live in an apartment building or don’t have the outdoor space to create your own compost pile, there are still several options for composting your food waste.
The most popular indoor composting option is using a vermicomposter, also known as a worm bin. This bin takes up little space, is relatively easy to maintain, and produces no odor if maintained properly. You can either buy a worm bin, such as the Urban Worm Bag, or make your own. With a worm bin, you can collect the compost every few months and use it to nourish your indoor plants. Check out these tips for maintaining an indoor worm bin!
If you have a patio, balcony, or small outdoor space, you can use a compost tumbler, which is a bit bigger than a worm bin and is kept outside. Compost tumblers make it easy to turn and mix the compost, while also protecting it from animals and speeding up the composting process. There are several compost tumbler options available for purchase, or you can build your own. Learn more about composting with a compost tumbler.
A newer innovation in home composting, electric composters allow you to easily compost your food scraps right in your kitchen. Electric composters use aeration, heat, and pulverization to compost food waste while reducing emissions and odor. Learn more about how electronic composters work, and check out the best electric kitchen composters!
If you’re looking for an easier composting solution, composting pickup services might be a great option. There are many services available that come to pick up people’s food scraps from their homes. You can collect your food scraps in a small countertop bin in your kitchen (check out this year’s best countertop bins), and a pickup service can come pick them up weekly or monthly.
Compost pickup services are a simple, easy way to contribute to the environmental benefits of composting! Find pickup services in your area, such as Compost Cab in Washington DC.
ShareWaste is an app that allows people who compost to connect with people nearby who want to compost their food waste. You can find composters near you with ShareWaste’s interactive map. Then, simply collect your food scraps in a countertop bin, and bring your scraps to them!
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If you’re a resident of Washington DC, check out the rebates available through the DC Home Composting Program!