Composting When You Live In An Apartment & Balcony: 3 Tips

Composting When You Live In An Apartment & Balcony: 3 Tips

Composting is perfect for the outdoors, but can also be done indoors too. People who do not have an abundance of space, or even don’t have a backyard can still compost their organic waste. All you need to do is know the basics and methods of doing it, and you too can do your bit for the environment and benefit from creating homemade compost.

You don’t want to do anaerobic composting, because the lack of oxygen makes it smell bad, and it takes too long to compost. Instead, you should do aerobic and vermicomposting. If done properly, these two types of composting produce nutrient-rich compost that smell of dirt, and not rotten eggs or vomit. The process is much faster because it encourages aerobic organisms, and vermicompost worms are very efficient at consuming organic waste.

In this article, I will give you tips on composting in an apartment or on a balcony, and in the end, I will offer you another article to read. I explain more about composting and vermicomposting in that article, which you may find useful.

1. Indoor composting bin

If you don’t want to get involved with worms, you can use an indoor compost bin. They are nice and small and can be placed anywhere in your apartment, such as under the sink, etc. It is much better to use a commercial bin, although you can make one yourself. You will need a container with a lid and small holes at the top. This is for ventilation, and it helps to break down the waste.

When you fill-up your compost bin, you shouldn’t just put kitchen waste inside it. You should include things like dead foliage, dry leaves, twigs and shredded paper, etc. If you do start to notice a smell, you may have put too much nitrogen-rich kitchen waste inside. You can rectify this by adding carbon-rich (dry/dead) waste that I’ve already mentioned. After this add a bit of soil on top, and cover it with shredded paper or newspaper, to mask it.

When you are composting, avoid adding things like cooked food, meat, and dairy. The smaller the piles are, the faster it will compost. If you do have a back yard, you should have a larger bin outside, and empty your indoor bin when it’s full. Although it’s perfectly fine to keep it indoors if you don’t have space outdoors.

I also recommend having more than one bin, so you can have different piles at different stages of the composting process. When the first one is filled up, you can start on the second bin, allowing the first one the time to decompose.

2. Worm farming (vermicomposting)

Worm bins can either be bought or built and is a way of using worms to turn organic waste into vermicompost. When they eat the waste, they excrete it and turn it into nutrient-rich worm castings. These castings can then be added to soil to improve the quality, and to help plants grow healthy.

Worm bins are small containers that you can cultivate worms in, by giving them a layer of bedding, and feeding them kitchen and garden waste. They like to live in a dark area, so placing them somewhere like under your sink or in a cupboard is perfect for them. They are very easy to keep alive, and cultivating them indoors is the best way to keep them alive.

If you do it properly, they do not smell, and you will hardly notice that they are there. If you don’t want to spend money on a worm farm, then all you need to do is build one yourself, and replicate similar conditions to a commercial one.

3. Porch compost tumbler

If you have a balcony or a small backyard area, you can use the two methods already mentioned. But you can also make use of a porch compost tumbler, which is a compact tumbler that is perfect for people who don’t have space for large outdoor compost piles.

This is a great option for you if you don’t want to get involved with worms, don’t have any space outdoors, and work perfectly alongside the indoor composting method. If you have a small container garden area that you need to maximize the space, then this method may not be the best. But is perfect for a small yard with a bit of excess space or a balcony.

For a more thorough read about composting and vermicomposting, check out this article: Difference Between Composting vs Vermicomposting. I explain more about how to do these two methods within this article (if you skip to the how to sections).


You can still compost when you have little or no outdoor space. You can use a cupboard or under the sink, to place an indoor composting bin or a worm farm. If you do have a little space outdoors or a balcony, you can do these two methods, and you can also use a porch compost tumbler.

Whichever method you choose to do, all three are excellent ways to create your homemade compost, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and play your part in improving the environment.

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