4 Ideas for Composting in a Small Apartment – Vegan Approved

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Have you wondered about composting in a small apartment or small space? You may have become vegan for many reasons, green living, protecting animals, better health, sustainability, ethical reasons, etc. Depending on your reasons or just by being a human being on this earth you might be interested in sustainable living and figuring out how to recycle your food waste. I’ve researched the best ways to compost organic waste, which ones don’t smell, and which ones are vegan-friendly. Let’s take a look at ways you can compost to decrease your carbon footprint!

You can also consider getting your meals delivered too if you'd like to cut down on your food waste. I know I have no food waste when someone has prepared a yummy soups and smoothies or vegan protein packed herb plant based chicken and delivered it right to my door! Check out our post on the best vegan meal delivery service article.

1. Drop-off Composting to Organizations that will Compost for You

One way to compost is to give your food scraps to someone else to compost. This might be offered by the local government, farmer’s market, botanical garden, or paid subscription services. This is a super-easy way to make sure your food waste is not going into the landfill creating more methane gas and you don’t need to worry about composting it yourself in your small living quarters. A win-win solution!

Here is a list of food scraps, houseplants, and organic waste composting services in major cities around the US. West coast local governments have taken the lead with easy composting programs offered for free and without any hassle. But I wonder if this is due to some of the mid-American cities being less dense, closer to wide open spaces where they have backyards and the natural area they can easily do their own composting. Often you can’t compost animal products like meat, bones, etc. But in some of these government food scrap composting programs, they have abilities to compost them as well. It might be a better alternative if you have family members or cohabitants who are not vegan.

List of Composting drop-off sites in major U.S. cities

CityStateComposting Drop-Off Site Information
PhoenixAZR City: fee-based composting subscription service
– No composting drop-off/ pick-up service offered by the city of Phoenix but you can buy $5 recycled compost bin from the city
Los AngelesCALA compost
how to compost in LA
San DiegoCA– San Diego city government has a discount offer for compost bins
Roger's Community Garden
Food 2 Soil
San JoseCANo need to separate organic waste from your normal garbage. Just toss it all in. A company called Green Waste sorts through the garbage and pulls out food waste and paper to compost. The city essentially does ALL the separating organic waste and composting for you.
San FranciscoCAhas composting garbage bins!
DenverCO Local composting pick up program
Washington D.C.DCD.C. public compost drop off service
AtlantaGA
BoiseIDcurbside pickup by the city
ChicagoILhow to compost in Chicago
IndianapolisIN
Kansas City KShow to compost in Kansas City
OrlandoFL– Orlando community compost O-Town compost
city of Orlando food waste dropoff
MiamiFLMiami Botanical Garden
Verde Market 
Livereneuable: fee-based composting subscription service
Kansas CityMO– Urbavore urban farm free compost drop off
St LouisMO– Paid subscription for compost pick-up(1, 2)
New YorkNYNew York City government composting drop off website
PhiladelphiaPA
AustinTXcurbside composting pick up by the city
DallasTX
HoustonTXComposting sites
– fee-based curbside composting service (1, 2)
San AntonioTX
SeattleWAcompost cart picked up by the city
MinneapolisWIweekly composting program offered by the city
List of composting drop-off sites around U.S. cities

If you are unable to find resources in your area, see if you have community gardens near you. Check to see if they have composting programs or see if you and your neighbors want to start one together.

1.1 Create Soup/ Broth out of Food Scraps

I often save my food scraps I can create broth or soup with in my freezer. If you have carrot tops, zucchini skin, mushroom ends, onion ends etc you can save them for making soup. You might want to still look at other composting tips for food scraps that shouldn't go in a soup like coconut shells, avocado skins, grapefruit seeds, dry brown skin of onion etc.

How to make Soup Broth out of Food Scraps

@glamvegan

How to make compost broth soup.save your food scraps in the fridge. More composting ideas: Glam-vegan.com

♬ CLOSE MY EYES – Ki

I keep all my potential soup broth scraps in the freezer until I have a good amount. I then put it in a pan and boil until sufficiently cooked. I like to add miso paste, ginger and sometimes turmeric to add some taste but it is completely up to you! Every food scrap soup broth will taste a little bit different depending what was collected in the scrap. But I love drinking these soups or freezing the broths by putting them in ice cube trays for later.

1.2 Make Dried Citrus Peel Snack

I love eating citruses especially mandarins, tangerines and oranges. Citruses are packed with vitamin C and they are better absorbed eating citruses rather than in a supplement. But research have shown the citrus peels are packed with more nutritions that are antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic. We usually don't think about eating the peels of citruses but they become a very portable snack if you dry them! And this decreases your food waste a little bit.

How to Make Dried Citrus Peel Snacks

Clean the citrus peel well and peel it off the meat of the fruit. Discard the internal white portion from the peel. These keep the peel moist so leaving it on could develop mold or prevent it from completely drying. Once the internal white portions are discarded, tear them apart in smaller 1 to 2 inch pieces and leave out in a cool dry place. Depending on the season and the part of earth you live in it could take anywhere from 1 to 4 days for it to completely dry.

I usually eat it as a snack. It's a bit bitter but really refreshing. You can use it as garnish to your dishes, create candied citrus peel by adding organic cane sugar, add it to vegan mochi donut, or make it into a potpourri and leave it in your bathroom. Leave a comment if you have other creative ideas on how to use them!

2. Is Vermicomposting Vegan?

What is vericomposting?

Vericomposting, worm cast, worm farm or worm composting is composting food waste by using earthworms like red wigglers. You add shredded newspaper, some dirt, earthworms and put food waste in a bin. The earthworms eat the food waste. They poop out nutrient rich soil you can use for your potted plants. The worm bin can be multi-layered so the worms can have space to travel to find the food or can be in a simple single bin with a bucket to catch liquid by product from when the food waste is being composted.

How to Start Vericomposting

First you need a place to put your food waste and the worms. You can buy a worm composting tower or you can make one yourself at home, if you are good at DIY, using buckets.

You are thinking “I live in the city no one around me has worms that they can give me” or “I don’t want to be digging up dirt in the park to try to find worms”. You can buy red wigglers and other composting worms online

But are vermicompost or worm farms vegan friendly?

It depends on what being vegan means for you. We at GLAM vegan believe that ultimately the choice is up to each individual where they draw the line. Whether you are just curious about being more plant-based for healthy life or for sustainability reasons, you've been a long term vegan, you go back and forth being vegan and omnivore, you have family members who you'd like to support that are vegan etc. Whatever the reason you ended up here we at GLAM vegan welcome you and support you. And we are happy you visited our site!

But for the purpose of figuring out whether vericomposting is vegan friendly lets go through the 3 main types of vegans that might be out there in the US.

Types of Vegans

  • Dietary Vegan – aka strict vegans do not consume any animal derived products
  • Ethical Vegan – don't consume any animal derived product but also opposes exploitation of animals (including humans) for any purpose.
  • Environmental Vegan – focuses on conservation, avoids animal products due to it's damaging impact on the environmental (ex: factory farming)

There are also other forms of veganisms like religious veganism (Jain and Jewish religion), feminist veganism, black veganism.

Veganism definition from Vegan Society:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Vegan society

Vericomposting does exploit earth worms to compost food waste. But what if worms are eating your food and you are providing them a good home. I think it is up to you. Do you think it is ethical to have worms work for you? Again at GLAM Vegan we honor wherever you are in your plant-based/ vegan journey. How would the three different vegans reply? Is vericomposting vegan? If you are Dietary vegan : Yes, Ethical Vegan: No, Environmental vegan: Yes.

Pros
Accessible: You don't have to drop off compost anywhere
Rich Soil: Vericomposting creates rich nutritious soil for your house plants and garden projects.
Space: Worm bins can be good for a small apartment if you don't have too much food waste.
Vericomposting Pros
Cons
Learning Curve: If you don't do get it right (add too much food waste, add wrong food waste, contents become too wet) it will smell
Worms Phobia: Squeamish about worms? This is not for you
No Meat, Seafood: Most animal products can't be composted. (except for egg shells)
Travel: You need someone to feed it if you are gone for more than a few days
Space: If you have a lot of food waste, worm bins might not be the most convenient for a small apartment. Depending on how much food waste you have it might take up as much space as 1 or 2 garbage cans.
No Citrus: May depend on the type of worms but many earthworms do not like acidic conditions. So make a citrus peel snack!
Vericomposting Cons

3. Is Bokashi Good for Composting in a Small Apartment

What is Bokashi?

Bokashi is not quite composting. It's a bacteria that ferments the food waste so that it can become compost quicker. So Bokashi doesn't convert food waste all the way to compost it is just a helpful catalyst. You first put the food compost into Bokashi bin with Bokashi bran and ferment it for about 2 weeks. Add the fermented food compost into dirt to finish the process. This means you need to have sufficient dirt per fermented food waste. This makes this process not very ideal. Unless you have friends with yard, a big buckets of dirt in your small apartment or can drop off the fermented food waste to a compost drop-off location. I think if you are going to do that why not just drop off the food waste rather than using bokashi and creating a stinky fermented food waste you need to carry around… My thought is if you live in a small apartment this is not an ideal composting method.

But if you live in a place with access to sufficient dirt or patch of earth, you can get a whole bokashi indoor composting starter kit. Bokashi Living also has a step by step method on how to start with Bokashi.

Pros
Ideal for Composting Outside/ Yard Access: Bokashi would be ideal for someone with dirt/ yard access.
Pros of Bokashi
Cons
Smell: It will have pickle like smell if it's successful but if there is too much air, not enough bokashi bran, not the right temperature it could stink
Time Consuming: Takes 4-6 weeks for food waste to turn into compost
Not ideal for small space: Need access to soil/ dirt to bury the fermented food waste
Not Ideal for Cold: Bokashi won't work well during the cold months.
Cons of Bokashi

4. Counter-Top Composter for Composting in a Small Apartment

I love Lomi, a countertop composter. It's like a magical electric device that turns all your food waste into compost. It’s hassle-free, order-free, earthworm, ants, fruit flies and stink-free. You don’t even need to leave your home to go drop it off at a composting site. It’s 22 lbs 16″ x 13″ x 12″ which is about a size of a bread maker and fits perfectly on my side table next to the kitchen. It's simple for a kid to operate you put all your compost and hit one button and in about 4 hours you get compost. I love that I can even put compostable packaging like cardboard and paper wrapping and Lomi creates it into compost. I just love how it is so easy and hassle free without the order!!

It's amazing how you will notice you don't have to take out the trash as much because Lomi composts most of your trash that takes up space (food waste). Plus the trash doesn't smell bad so on top of trash not piling up, your room won't stink because you haven't taken out the trash in awhile. Learn more about how to compost easily using Lomi!

composting in a small apartment
Pros
Convenience: You don't have to drop your food waste off, wait for it to ferment, eaten by worms you just set it and forget it.
Meats, Seafood are OK: if you have carnivore/ omnivore family or roommates. Their food can also be composted
Citruses are OK: Unlike vericomposting you can compost citrus.
Vegan: No question about it this method is 100% vegan
One Button: It's simple, you can operate it with one touch button!
No Pests: Unlike other methods, it doesn't attract pests like fruit flies, ants, rodents.
Bioplastics: Lomi can compost bioplastics on top of food waste
No Odor: Composting with Lomi doesn't stink. Also your trash also won't smell bad anymore because what makes trash stink is food waste
Lomi Over the Counter Composting Pros
Cons
Noise: It's about as loud as running a dish washer if you like a quiet space best to run it when you are not home
Price: Initial investment could be pricy. There are deals and offers here
Lomi Over the Counter Composting Cons

6. Conclusion – Best Method for Composting in a Small Apartment

It's great to compost whether you live in a large house or small apartment. But if you are limited for space, we recommend going with a counter top composter. It is the quickest, cleanest, easiest, odorless way to compost your food waste and biodegradable plastic. It fits easily on your kitchen counter top and not as demanding on your attention and time as other composting methods.

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