Super Easy Guide to City Composting

A few friends have asked me about composting, especially in the city. So I wanted to put together a few tips on making it simple. This is based on what works for me – a worm-less, odor-less, version of city composting. This will work if you have even the tiniest outdoor space – a patio or balcony – wherever you keep your outdoor trashcans.


1. For starters, here is a basic list of what to compost and what NOT to compost. You will see that there are “browns” which are high carbon and “greens” which are high nitrogen. For best results, you want to have the right balance of each. Basically, if it smells, you need more carbon, so add some dried leaves. If it seems like it isn’t decomposing fast enough, add more food waste.

2. This is the bin I use for outdoors. It’s less than $30, lightweight, and easy. We keep a garbage pan lid on it to keep out critters.

3. You don’t have to go outside every time you peel an apple. Collect kitchen waste in a pretty ceramic compost keepers like these two gorgeous ones:


4. When the compost bin is completely full – which for us has been only 2-3 times per year – you of course have the option to use for gardening. We have no garden apart from some herbs in the windowsill. So we post on Freecycle and put it up for grabs for any gardener or farmer who wants to haul it away! If you can’t find someone to take it away, there are super affordable services that will haul it away for you as often as you like. Locally, we have the nice folks at PhillyCompost, Bennett Compost, and Pedal Co-op who even take it away on an energy-free bicycle!

Please let me know if you have any more questions and good luck! You will find that your kitchen trash smells fresher and you will be surprised how little you have to take out on trash day!

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