Living in a tiny home might mean less space, but that shouldn’t stop you from lowering your contribution to food waste. There are many different methods for composting in small spaces. From vermicomposting to trying the Bokashi method, there are many options you can choose based on your available space and time. Before jumping into different methods to try, let’s discuss what composting is and what kind of materials can go into your pile.
What is Composting?
Composting is a natural process through which organic material is converted into a soil-like product. Rather than throwing away kitchen scraps like coffee grounds and vegetable skins, you can convert these materials into fertilizer. This fertilizer can be used in your garden and is full of nutrients your plants will love.
What You Should Compost
While it slightly varies by method, there are general rules to what you can and can’t compost. The main materials that can be put into your pile are categorized as brown and green ingredients. Brown materials (like dead leaves and newspaper) add essential carbon to your pile. Green materials (like vegetable and fruit scraps) add essential nitrogen. You’ll need both of these ingredients to successfully compost as well as a bin or pile to give your scraps a space to decompose. Below are a few other materials you can reference that can go into your pile.
- Nut shells
- Twigs and branches
- Wood shavings
- Paper goods
- Vegetables and fruits
- Tea and coffee
- Old flowers
- Grass and leaves
Now let’s dig into the different methods of composting that work well for small indoor spaces.
Method 1: Bokashi Bin
The Bokashi method is a Japanese technique that relies on inoculated bran to ferment organic materials into nutrient-rich soil and tea for plants. It was originally created by Teruo Higa, professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa in 1982 after he developed the microbial starter later marketed as “EM-1” or Essential Microorganisms. Unlike traditional composting, you can use meat and dairy food scraps for fermentation. You can either create your own Bokashi bin or purchase a ready made bran and bin for easy use.
Method 2: Vermicomposting
Small, portable and fast, vermicomposting or creating a “worm bin” quickly processes household waste, producing nutrient-rich “worm tea” suitable for houseplants and planter boxes. You can either create a DIY worm composter out of small bins or purchase ready made ones. Just make sure to give your worms proper living conditions by storing your bin in a cooler location.
Method 3: Food Digester
Countertop digesters are great for people with zero to minimal space as they are about the size of a bread maker appliance. The resulting food waste is small and dry, so there is never a smell from your composter.
Method 4: Donation
For those who are uninterested or don’t have the space for composting, there are many ways you can collect and donate your food scraps. Many local farmers markets or community gardens offer compost sites where you can drop off your kitchen scraps to be put towards a good cause.
Method 5: Community Composting
Another no-fuss composting method is to try teaming up with other members of your community to start a communal compost program. There might already be a program offered in your area so with a little research you can join a team that will facilitate as you learn to compost.
Whatever method you choose, we hope this guide inspires you to do your part for lowering food waste in your household. For more information and instructions around the previously mentioned methods, explore this post on how to compost in small spaces. You can also check out the article’s visual guide below.