five gallon bucket with airscape bucket lid composting

Four Tips to Compost in the City

We’ve already written the beginner’s guide on how to compost at home. You know the perks of composting and the pitfalls of letting all that organic waste rot in a landfill. But what if you live in an apartment? Can you still compost?


Composting requires only a few key ingredients and a backyard isn’t one of them.

The lack of outdoor space does make composting a bit tricker, but don’t worry all you city-dwellers! We have four tips to help you become the eco-champion the earth deserves.

1. Consider vermicomposting by housing worms (yes — those slimy critters you played with as a kid):

Composting using worms, or vermicomposting, is one of the best (albeit wacky) ways to successfully turn your garbage into useable compost.

Because you don’t have a yard full of microbes, snails, worms and other insects to help your kitchen scraps cook and decompose, you might need to bring in some extra help. Enter the red wigglers. These “pests” do all the work for you. Within a few months you’ll have garden-ready compost.

All you need to do is prepare a home for your new pets: you can buy a proper container or build one on your own. Next, ready their bed using a sheet of moist newspaper or cardboard and store the critters in a place that’ll stay between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (under the kitchen sink will do). Red Wiggler experts at Planet Natural say to feed your worms your kitchen scraps every day, twice a week or once a week.

No backyard needed.

But wait — don’t go digging through your neighbor’s yard just yet. Vermicomposting requires a certain type of worm that can live off your discarded veggie scraps and coffee grinds.

Pro tip: it may be tempting to buy pounds and pounds of worms — anything is possible on the internet — but we recommend starting small.

2. Buy a house plant

As a city dweller, you probably don’t have the luxurious outdoor space of your more rural counterparts, and thus, probably don’t have a garden in need of humus. So what should you do with all that rich compost you’ve created? Feed it to your potted plants, of course.

A 1989 NASA study showed that decorating your apartment (or any space) with house plants purifies the air, creating a healthier living space. So not only will you breathe easier with the newest, leafiest addition to your household, you’ll have the perfect spot for all that compost.

If you produce more compost than your potted plants can handle (thanks, worms) a large portion of U.S. cities have centers that would love your compost donation, while some even pick up your compost curbside. Your compost will then be distributed to community garden projects at schools, other public spaces, or as a National Geographic Article reported, even larger scale farms.

3. Choose the proper composting bin

If you’re keeping your compost bin indoors or even on a small patio, rooftop or shared space, it’s essential you have the best equipment possible. You definitely don’t want a bin that leaks or allows your curious pet to take a sniff (or a bite) of your compost.

You’ll want a container that’s sure to keep moisture, warmth and odor in (though not bad, compost does produce an earthy smell) while keeping animals and unwanted insects out. Planetary Design’s Airscape Bucket Lid is ideal for indoor composting. Not only is it perfect for a small space, its air-tight seal will keep your compost cooking right.

4. Take it easy

Composting can feel overwhelming at times, but don’t let that stop you from keeping our landfills free of food waste. If you’re not ready to churn your own compost at home, buy a compost container (specially made to be odor free) for your kitchen and fill it with the appropriate scraps. Every week you can drop your goods off at a local farm or a city compost center.

So get out there and get composting!