Composting in Small Spaces Creates Big Impact

By Ashley Ess in Thinking Sustainably

Say farewell to the common misconception that you need your own backyard to be able to compost. Living in small quarters can actually mean big composting success. Apartment dwellers are just as important to the composting world as home gardeners, as they, too, can create effective compost piles that are put to good use.

Have Bin, Will Compost

Composting in small spaces

So, how is composting in small spaces with no access to a yard possible, you ask? It’s simple! With the many compact compost bins available on the market, it’s clear that composting is making its name in even the most petite of living spaces. No need for large containers the size of city garbage cans; mini bins fit nicely on your patio or balcony and can also be used with techniques such as vermicomposting (or worm composting) that are ideal for small-space composts.

But perhaps a more pressing question is this: what can be done with the compost once it’s finished if you don’t have a garden? There are simple answers to this question as well.

  • Your new soil can be used in houseplants or patio container gardens.
  • Gift it to friends and family to use in their own gardens or houseplants.
  • Are you feeling charitable? Donate your compost to a local school garden or urban farm.
  • Consider tending your own bed in a community garden to make use of your soil.
  • Trade your composted soil for vegetables in your neighborhood garden.

Got Food Scraps?

Composting in small spaces

Your food scraps and organic waste are the lifeblood of any compost pile, so why not make the earth smile with these precious goods that are created right in your kitchen? If you don’t have the means or space to create your own mini compost bin, there are still ways you can contribute to compost without adding bulk to your garbage can and, ultimately, the landfill.

Local composting services are an earth-friendly alternative since they help reduce waste for those who don’t wish to create their own compost but still want to make a difference. By providing a small bin for you each week, these companies do almost all of the work. All you need to do is toss all your food scraps and organic waste into the bin, and they will pick it up.

Check with your city’s refuse department to see if they have a composting program. Oftentimes the green garbage can that’s picked up weekly by the city is designated for food scraps and yard trimmings only, but if you live in an apartment you may not have this option. Ask your property manager or owner to become a participant in your city’s composting program. These programs usually provide a small compost pail for food waste that you can then add to a building compost cart, to be picked up weekly.

Another way to contribute to compost without doing the work at home is to collect your food waste and drop it off at a composting center. Earth 911 has a practical search tool to help you find a drop-off center in your area. For information on what you can and can’t compost, Planet Natural has a helpful list of items that are safe to include. Learn how to get started composting in small spaces by checking out Sustainable America’s helpful infographic, and then tell us about your composting tips on Twitter!

Image sources: Flickr | Flickr | Flickr

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Composting is a simple way to reduce landfill waste and give back to the planet. No matter if you're garden-free and live in a small space, your composting contributions can still make a big difference for your family and neighbors (and the world).