Compost in the City

City composting can be as simple as putting a tightly sealed plastic container under your sink.
By Jackson Pittman
Composting is a great and easy way to put garbage to a real use. By harnessing scraps and organic waste as fuel for plants we can cut down our what we put out to a landfill, and also accommodate life! Stores offer a wide variety of compost and worm containers, but a simple one can be built without having to buy anything! These DIY methods even prevent rodent attraction and block odors if fed the right kinds of waste.
DIY Compost Bin
What you will need: 2 containers (one should be able to fit in the other with room), 1 lid for the larger container, drill, 1 brick and soil or wood chips.
Drill half an inch in diameter holes across the bottom and up the sides of the smaller container. Put brick in the bottom of larger container and sit the smaller container on top of it. Fill the space in between the containers with wood chips or soil and place the lid over the larger container.
Wastes to put in: fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, nut shells, shredded newspaper, cardboard, paper, grass clippings, houseplants, hay and straw, leaves, sawdust, wood chips, cotton and wool rags, dryer and vacuum cleaner lint, hair, fur and fireplace ashes
Compost should be ready in 2-5 weeks.

Wastes which will attract pests and produce odors: dairy, eggs and meat products, oils, greases and pet wastes

DIY Worm Bin
What you will need: composting worms, container (not translucent), lid or rag, lots of shredded paper, several fruit or vegetable scraps
Composting worms need 6-7 inches of bedding, and a gallon of worms need about a square foot of space, keeping in mind the worms reproduce and will need to expand. At the end of the vermicomposting cycle more bins will be necessary to accomodate the growing worm population.
Once the right size container is chosen, soak the shredded paper, and then dry it by hand until it has the moisture of a run out sponge. There should be enough paper to spread six to seven inches of bedding across the bottom of the container, and once this is done, throw some produce scraps on so the bacteria can begin to propagate before the worms are introduced (worms love bacteria). Add the worms and close the container-- however since the worms need air you can drill holes in a lid, leave the lid slightly ajar or place a wet, dark , wrung out cloth over the bin (this eliminates light (worms hate light) and keeps the bedding moist while keeping out flies or other pests).
Well-kept worms will be reproducing a lot and can live several years!
Wastes to put in: Fruits, vegetables, paper, plant matter and any food scraps without dairy, meat or grease.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.