Are you trying to reduce food waste but don’t have a backyard big enough for a compost heap? Indoor composting could be the answer, and it’s not as stinky as it sounds.
Let’s face it, there will always be scraps and offcuts in the kitchen no matter how aware of reducing waste you are. Think broccoli stems, banana peels and onion skins, which will end up going into landfill if we don’t have a kitchen waste system in place.
It’s easy to think of big stinky piles of muck when you think of composting, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Composting can be a cheap, easy thing you do without even putting much thought into it – or even needing to have a backyard!
Unlike outdoor composting, indoor compost systems don’t require oxygen and heat to work. Instead, the muesli mix that is layered between the scraps helps to break down the food, meaning it won’t smell.
It’s also a great way to produce lovely homemade plant food and rich potting mix for your plants. Read on to learn how to cut down your reliance on landfill and live more sustainably.
How to reduce food waste with an indoor compost system
What you’ll need:
- An indoor compost bin from your local hardware shop
- Indoor compost muesli mix
- Indoor compost spray (this normally comes in the box with the compost bin)
- Large tub with lid
- Potting mix (soil)
- Small shovel
What you can put in your indoor compost bin
- fruits and vegetables – cooked and uncooked – chopped finely
- coffee grinds, tea bags
- eggs, dairy and meat – cooked and uncooked
- bread, cut into smaller pieces
- paper, torn into small pieces – tissues are fine too
Now it’s time to start using your indoor composter.
READ MORE: A beginner’s guide to composting at home
1. Collect waste and scraps from your kitchen
This can pretty much include anything you use in the kitchen aside from plastic and cleaning chemicals.
Think meat scraps, eggs, onion skins… all the food offcuts or uneaten leftovers that you normally toss into the rubbish can go into making an incredibly nutritious and rich potting mix for your plants or to give away to friends.
Be sure to chop up any larger items as they’ll take much longer to break down and will result in your finished product looking a bit odd.
2. Scatter scraps into the indoor compost bin
Make sure there are no big clumps – keeping it level and packed down tightly will speed up the process – and press down to get rid of any air pockets.
3. Cover with a thin layer of the supplied muesli mix
Repeat with more layers of scraps and muesli as you need to. You’ll need around a tablespoon of mix per cup of chopped scraps.
If the mix becomes too dry then spray with the liquid spray – you don’t want it too dry or too wet.
4. Cover with lid, ensuring it’s air-tight
Unlike a regular compost, which can smell and attract pests, the indoor compost system will pickle your scraps using the power of fermentation. It’ll also stop it smelling bad – but this only works if you limit the oxygen – so keep the lid on in-between uses.
5. Once a week, empty the liquid that gathers at the bottom
Your plant babies will love this organic fertiliser! Just add it to your watering can and dilute with water.
6. Once it’s full, wait for two weeks with the lid covered tight
Keep your indoor compost bin out of the way and away from the reach of curious pets or small children.
7. Prepare your lidded container
Fill the large tub with the pre-bought potting mix so it’s about a quarter full.
8. Empty the mix into the lidded container; wait for another 2 weeks
This is the only time you’ll be faced with your kitchen scraps and it should be done at least two weeks after you first started the batch. Many home-composters choose to have two bins going at the same time so they never have to wait while the muesli does its work.
Mix the fermented mixture through with the soil, then cover with another layer of soil.
The scraps will quickly break down and become more soil. It’s just like magic!
Leave for around two weeks before using the soil in your pots. Herbs and veg will love this rich, nutritious stuff!
This article was originally published as Reduce kitchen waste with an indoor compost system by www.realestate.com.au and is written by Erinna Giblin.