Composting is one of the most effective ways to minimize food waste, which accounts for 30% of what is thrown away by the average household and contributes 10% of global carbon emissions. In fact, once you start composting, you will be shocked about how much of your trash is food scraps, expired/old veggies, and unwanted meals. Composting is the ideal solution to dealing with food waste. You are helping to divert waste from landfills and you are recycling food scraps and other organic materials into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used in gardens. Now, you may be thinking: how can we compost in an urban jungle? We’re here to help out with this guide to composting in the city. 

What is Composting?
But first, what exactly is composting? Compost can be used as a soil conditioner and fertiliser in gardens and farms, or even used for biofuel. It is created by recycling organic matter, such as your fruit and vegetable scraps and leftover food, and allowing it to decompose over time. 
How can I compost my food waste in the city? 
There are many ways to compost your food waste, from doing it yourself at home to bringing your food scraps to a local composting station or to a local farm. We go through some of the main ways below. 
But first a few words of caution: if you are going to embark on DIY composting methods, from a simple bin full of soil to composting bin or vermicomposting, then you need to be aware of a few things:
– Compost heaps can attract bugs, including cockroaches. There are things you can do to keep this to a minimum but it’s worth keeping in mind.
– You have to be very clear about what you CAN and CANNOT compost at home. Here’s a really good guide.
– You need to get your compost balance right: if it’s too wet, the bacteria will suffocate and cause bad smells; if it’s too dry, you may struggle to get the compost to break down.
– Composting can create unpleasant smells- again, there are ways to improve this but it’s worth keeping in mind.
– Your neighbors may start hating you, because of the aforementioned bugs and smells. But hey, no one said eco-activism was easy!
– Your building may not allow you to compost on your balcony/outdoor space- it’s worth finding out first.
– Composting is a hobby that demands some time and experimentation. -When you get into it, it can be addictive but it’s worth noting its journey and it may take you some time to get he hang of it. Don’t give up!

Home Composting Bin

1) DIY Composting
If you happen to live in a home with an outdoor space, you’ll be able to practice composting at home using a bin filled with soil, leaves, and newspaper. Start by layering torn newspaper and soil inside the bin, and add your food scraps on top. Over time, you might need to add more leaves, newspaper, and soil into the compost bin to bury your food and stir it at least once a day to allow enough air to enable the bacteria inside to begin decomposing the waste. You’ll be able to use your compost in a few weeks. 
2) Go with the Bokashi Method
The Japanese Bokashi method is another form of composting at home, and it works if you have a home planter or ideally a small outdoor space such as a balcony. It’s essentially a fermenting process taking place in a bucket with holes to help drain any liquid. After putting your food scraps into a bucket, sprinkle a patented powder containing effective microorganisms and a carbon base, which helps ferment the food waste while neutralizing any foul smells and boosting the mineral content of the compost. Every couple of days, empty the liquid, which can be reused to fertilise plants at home. After the first phase of fermentation, move the compost into soil to further decompose it for use in gardening. While it takes most food scraps such as veggies and coffee grounds, avoid putting liquids such as oil, juice and soup. 
3) Try Vermicomposting
Vermicomposting involves using earthworms to turn your food waste into compost. Two main breeds of earthworms are usually used in vermicomposting – Eisenia foetida (red wigglers) or Lumbricus rubellus (red earthworms) – which can be found in most garden centres. Around 1,000 worms are needed to start a wooden worm box, and they begin breeding fast, which will help decompose your food waste. The final product is a rich organic soil that contains a diversity of plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. 
4) Use a Home Composting Machine
If you don’t have outdoor space (or if home composting is too much of a faff), you can invest in a home composting machine. Roughly the size of a normal rubbish bin, the electronic machine is pretty self-explanatory and makes composting as easy as putting your scraps in, then pressing a button. The benefit of this approach is that it is odourless and convenient.
5) Apply for a Commercial Composting Machine
Lead by example and lobby your building for a common composting machine.