Apr 12 2014, 9:46am CDT | by Forbes
Being eco-friendly in your apartment isn’t as hard as you may think. You can change small features to decrease your energy consumption, recycle your cans, plastic bottles and glass, and you can compost.
If you’ve never created a compost pile before, you may not be sure how to start one in your small apartment. Here’s how in four easy steps:
1. Buy a Container
Purchase a large plastic or ceramic container. You can find one at a gardening store or department store. Poke holes in the lid and base of a plastic box to create ventilation and allow water to drain. Place a tray beneath the container to catch the drainage. You can keep the compost pile inside or outside of your apartment, though it should be in a cool spot that gets plenty of sunlight.
2. Pile the Components
Before you can toss scrapped food in your compost, you’ll need to prep the bin. Start by cutting strips of paper (you can recycle them from old newspapers) and soaking them in water. Use half of the strips to coat the bottom of the bin. Pour soil over the paper and drop in worms–the container size should be relative to how many worms you put inside. The bin needs to be one square foot for every pound of worms.
3. Toss in Scraps
Now that you have a pile of paper, soil and worms, you can start throwing in your scraps. Compost piles can contain fruits, vegetables, produce peels, egg shells, paper, tea and tea bags, coffee and filters, and leaves. Do not add plastic, animal waste, citrus, meat, bones or dairy. Each time you add scraps to your compost pile, cover it with the soaked paper strips.
You can keep piling scraps and paper in your compost bin. You may consider having two bins in your small apartment, alternating between the two. This gives the worms time to work through the food scraps and will give you more room the next time you use that bin. Once you’re bin is full and the contents have decomposed, you can use the soil for gardening. If you don’t garden, consider giving a bag of the soil to someone who does.
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