Going Green: Composting in a Tiny Space (Like your Apartment!)

April 19th, 2011 | Posted by tjones in Gardening | Green Products | Waste Reduction

flickr user wisemandarine

This article is part of a series on reducing waste and living more sustainably.

I live in a small apartment in Brooklyn, New York, with four other people.  One of the largest amounts of waste products I notice that we produce (besides plastics, recyclable or non-recyclable) is the amount of food scraps and food waste we throw away.

Food waste is actually an important issue for the environment.  In New York City, roughly one-third of all the trash we send to the landfill is compostable materials — usually kitchen scraps that will quickly and naturally decompose.  This is significant, because when a compostable item decomposes in an oxygen-free environment, like a landfill, it produces the greenhouse gas methane.  Methane is actually over 20 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is, which is why composting is such an important activity to pursue.

In my own apartment, the vegetable matter we produce could easily be composted indoors; unfortunately one of our roommates is uncomfortable with having a live compost in the kitchen area.  (Alas, this is the all-too-common human factor of trying to live environmentally: sometimes the social environment around us precludes us from living as sustainably as we’d like.)

In the meantime, though, I’ve two solutions:

  1. I save all of my vegetable scraps in the freezer, in an airtight container.  About three-quarters of these scraps go towards my vegetable stock supply, which I wind up replenishing about every three weeks.
  2. The rest I take down to the park for the public composting program.

It’s a little extra effort, but it helps the environment and saves me a clean conscience.  And it’s especially helpful for future compost projects: freezing compost scraps kills whatever insect eggs and fungi might be present in those scraps, ensuring a clean, uncontaminated compost pile.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Through May 1st, Green Depot is offering up to 20% off a number of green products, including composting supplies.  For all of our discounted composting supplies, click here.

The All Seasons Indoor Composter kit is a unique, in-house system that recycles kitchen scraps into compost. The anaerobic fermentation method used in this kit prepares your compost in less than half the time of conventional composting methods, without the odors.  Two unique features, the strainer and spigot, allow the moisture released by your food scraps to be drained out to prevent spoilage. This liquid can be diluted and used as a fertilizer for household plants.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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