Indoor compost bin – is it a good idea?

Composting have become full of unfavorable myths over the years. It is believed to be difficult, time consuming, stinking, dirty and vermin attractive. Besides, not everyone can afford it – after all, you must have at least a house with a garden, right? Fortunately, none of these things are right. If we do it wisely, it soon turns out that composting brings much more satisfaction than problems. An indoor compost bin can be a great idea even if we only have a studio with only a bit of free space under the sink. So what is composting and how to prepare for it?

What is compost and what shouldn’t be put in it?

Compost is nothing but an organic substance processed by micro (or macro) organisms to form a mass rich in easily digestible nutrients. In other words, our kitchen scraps, when thrown to the indoor compost bin, are digested by composting organisms. The metabolites formed in this way are a valuable fertilizer for plants. We can use it both to enrich the soil of our decorative pot plants, as well as to improve yields and at the same time close the matter circulation in urban agriculture.

indoor compost bin

However, in order for the indoor compost bin to meet our expectations, we cannot throw everything that seems adequate to us. We should refrain from throwing [1]:

  • dairy products and eggs (except shells), because their decomposition is accompanied by a very unpleasant smell that attracts flies;
  • meat scraps (including fish) and bones, for the same reason;
  • oils and grease (especialy animal-delivered), for the same reason;
  • parts of plants attacked by insects and diseases, because they can be transferred to subsequent plants together with the fertilizer;
  • animal excrements, because it can contain viruses, bacteria and parasites dangerous to humans.

Advantages of indoor composting

If we keep these few simple rules in mind, our indoor compost bin should not cause problems, especially when it comes to smell. In order for the fertilizer resulting from it to be healthy and fully valuable, remember not to utilize plants that are intensively sprayed with pesticides.

The “healthy” fertilizer itself, by strengthening the plants, provides good protection against diseases and insects. Thanks to home composting, we also don’t have to buy ready-made fertilizers. At the same time, therefore, we save money, time and resources that would be used for the industrial production of this type of products.

The waste we produce, instead of ending in landfills, goes to the indoor compost bin. It can be successfully reused instead of laying among other rubbish for years. If we have the indoor compost bin – the food we were unable to eat will not be wasted, but will be processed instead. Of course, let’s be aware that the composter does not absolve you from unreasonable shopping!

Vermicomposting – perfect for apartments

Sounds good, but how to compost those scraps exatly?

The most popular (and basically the most interesting!) indoor compost bin is one in which waste is beaing dealt with by earthworms. However, they cannot be just any earthworms. For vermicomposting (composting with the use of Oligochaeta), the most suitable are, specially grown for this purpose, voracious Eisenia fetida, or Californian earthworms. The generally accepted rule says that during the day they are able to process as much waste as they weigh (for 300g scraps we need 300g earthworms in our indoor compost bin).

indoor compost bin

If our composter is properly guided, we do not have to worry about the unpleasant smell or pink refugees crawling around the apartment.

The vermicomposter can be bought or easily made by ourselves. Its size depends only on how much waste is generated in our kitchen. In addition to valuable coprolyte fertilizer, the composter inhabited by earthworms also regularly produces the so-called compost tea. It is rich in nutrients, liquid fertilizer used to enrich the soil and for natural protection of plants against pathogens.

Japaneese style indoor compost bin, or Bokashi

Speaking of compost tea, there is one more effective way to obtain it at home. The indoor compost bin does not have to be inhabited by earthworms (after all, not all of us want to commune with them). We can use the so-called Bokashi sets or mixes (from Japanese: shading, gradation).

To perform this type of composting, we will need special, hermetic bins that allow anaerobic digestion (although we can probably also do it ourselves). The very process of decomposting kitchen leftovers is activated by means of Bokashi mixes, i.e. mixtures of bran, molasses and selected species of bacteria. Such an indoor compost bin should not cause problems – bacteria, in the right amount, eliminate the unpleasant smell of fermentation. There are, ofcourse, some drawbacks as well – only compost tea is suitable for fertilizing plants. Fermented debris should be buried or used for further composting.

bokashi mix

Indoor compost bin gives a lot of satisfaction!

Regardless of what form of indoor composting we choose, it’s definitely worth doing. Recycling waste into something valuable instead of sending it to a landfill brings enormous satisfaction. Even if we do not deal with plants ourselves and the fertilizer is of no use to us, we can give it to a friendly gardener or an institution engaged with urban agriculture. Plant lovers will certainly be grateful and make good use of it.

Sources:
[1] United States Environmental Protection Agency: Composting At Home: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home#home [access 27.12.2019].

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