Composting is an excellent method to recycle organic waste from the house and provide natural fertilizer for plants.
It is a process of decomposition of organic waste by storing it in a composter, thanks to specialized bacteria, which will transform the waste into fertilizer for plants.
If you have adopted ecological habits and choices regarding products, why not start composting and minimize your waste.
It allows us to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle that respects the environment at home.
The good news is that composting is also possible if you live in a small apartment by installing a composter on the balcony.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of composting on your apartment’s balcony, here’s why it’s worth it!
Why Compost in an Apartment Balcony?
Every action we take can generate some kind of waste. If you have scrambled eggs for breakfast in the morning, the shells of these will end up in the garbage can, or if you make yourself freshly squeezed orange juice, you will also throw away the rest of the fruit.
Now, if you want to prepare a delicious salad, there will be several leaves of lettuce, spinach, or chard that you will send directly to the garbage can because they are oxidized, burned, or bad.
But, did you know that if you put all this waste together and leave it in a container or on the ground, you could get excellent compost?
This new use of waste is the objective of composting, a practice that allows you to fertilize your plants and trees.
Composting is a bioprocess, and when we say bio, it means that there are organisms behind it, specifically microorganisms, that make use of the garbage, waste, and residues left over from various activities.
This method allows you to use the organic waste of vegetables and fruits and thus, after a couple of months, generate a natural fertilizer to nourish the plants and trees on your balcony.
Composting is urgent. In fact, it should be mandatory. People throw away approximately one kilo of garbage daily: more than half is organic and could be used for natural fertilizer.
From today, it is possible for you to act for the planet by reducing food waste and by composting your household waste and different peels.
The destruction of this waste by incinerators generates toxic substances for humans and our environment.
Transforming your kitchen waste into fertilizer would limit the emission of these fumes while helping to cultivate your vegetable garden.
Initially reserved for homeowners, composting is now coming to apartments. Installing a compost bin on your balcony is a simple and accessible way for everyone to reduce their ecological impact.
By installing a composter on your balcony, you are doing an ecological, economical, and practical action.
Indeed, you will be able to compost your biodegradable waste, thus limiting the quantity of waste in your bins.
The fertilizer produced by the compost is natural and free. You can use it to enrich the plants’ soil on your balcony or interior.
Here are some reasons why to compost on an apartment balcony:
To Create Effective Fertilizer
All gardeners will tell you that it is necessary to have quality soil to obtain good vegetables.
Unfortunately expensive and sometimes chemical, these products are bad for you and your plants.
With composting, you can use your food waste to obtain healthy and free compost.
Destroying your garbage through fermentation or vermicomposting will create a nutrient-rich substrate ideal for nurturing your plants and flowers, giving them strength and growth.
Natural and rich in organic matter, your fertilizer will give you the comfort of gardening in peace.
To Recycle Your Waste to Pollute Less
Composting helps you pollute less and recycle better. The landfills emit gasses that contaminate the groundwater, and they no longer have space for the amount of waste we generate.
So it is our responsibility to play our part and start from our homes.
Methods for making compost in an Apartment Balcony
There are three main solutions for making compost on your balcony. As you can imagine, each solution has its advantages and disadvantages:
The Vermicompost: The Most Widespread Solution
There are different ways to compost on your balcony, but very often, it is vermicomposting that is favored by city dwellers who wish to have a balcony garden.
As its name suggests, a vermicomposter is a composter system with a lid containing earthworms.
The idea is surprising and can even be a little scary, but rest assured, a vermicomposter is neither annoying nor invasive, but quite the contrary.
We do not even notice that small worms are in the box!
It is the same process as conventional composting, except that compost worms mainly do the mixing and decomposition of organic matter.
Vermicomposters, therefore, have a greater recycling capacity for an equivalent volume than composters.
And yes, compost worms can digest their weight per day! It is therefore interesting to own one when only a small area is available.
Some people will still be reluctant to have this kind of object in their living space.
Especially since the presence of worms requires you to pay a little more sustained attention to your compost on your balcony than with an outdoor composter in a backyard.
Bokashi: a Good Alternative to Vermicompost
If you can’t get used to the idea of having vermicompost, all is not lost. Bokashi is a method that is becoming more and more widespread and acclaimed by city dwellers who want to live a better life.
Bokashi is a new compost practice from Japan, working with a small plastic bin-type container where you place your peelings and a compost activator based on micro-organisms.
It is thus practical when you only have an interior but less efficient than the apartment vermicomposter.
Overall, the principle is the same as with vermicompost, with one small difference.
A hyper-efficient microorganism replaces earthworms, bokashi bran, to speed up and optimize the composting process.
Therefore, Bokashi requires the regular purchase of a product in-store or a kit online, which goes somewhat against the model of integral recycling and the simplicity generally sought by the target audience. This is its main flaw.
Which Balcony Composter to Choose?
Before choosing the composter to install on your balcony, define your needs: how big is your balcony? How many people make up your household?
You can then decide the size of your composter. In a composter of 5 to 10 L, you can put the waste for ten days.
There are different materials for apartment composters: plastic, wood, and terracotta.
Plastic balcony composters have an attractive price but are unattractive and, above all, of poor quality: the sun heats the walls and makes them sensitive to variations in temperature.
Wood and clay composters regulate humidity and temperature better.
Finally, when choosing your model, remember to check that it is airtight to avoid bad odors and is equipped with a tap to obtain liquid fertilizer.
Using a Balcony Composter
The apartment composter, sometimes called a balcony composter, makes it possible to recycle kitchen waste.
It is very commonly used today, especially in urban areas, where you are rarely lucky enough to have a garden.
Its strengths are:
- It is compact.
- It allows the reduction of culinary waste.
- It is ideal for making your organic fertilizer: liquid or compost tea, of excellent quality, 100% natural, effective, and totally free.
- It is ideal if you have an urban vegetable garden on your balcony, for example.
- It does not release any unpleasant odor if it is not exposed to full heat.
Good to know: The ideal is to place the apartment composter on the balcony, ensuring that it is not exposed to direct sunlight. It will give off much less unpleasant odors in the shade.
Which Waste to Add to Your Balcony Composter?
In your balcony composter, you can deposit the following waste:
- Vegetable waste that does not give off any fetid odor (vegetable peelings, fruit peels, apple cores, carrot, and radish tops, etc.);
- Unplasticized egg cells.
- Previously moistened cardboard.
- The user absorbent paper.
- Used coffee filters and coffee grounds
It is strongly recommended to add to the apartment composter:
- A handful of nettles: nettle manure is an excellent compost activator. In other words, it boosts the fertilization of your plantations.
- A few earthworms. You can buy them from some garden centers or fishing stores. They are perfect for speeding up the decomposition of your kitchen waste. In a few weeks, the compost is ready to be used, whereas it is advisable to wait several months.
Good to know avoid placing shallots, garlic, onions, and animal remains (fish, seafood, meat) in your apartment composter, which, when decomposed, give off a very unpleasant smell.
Tips for Composting on an Apartment Balcony
The apartment composter makes it easy to maintain your compost information. To do this, simply proceed as follows:
- Cover the waste with a little earth or potting soil or with a very dry protective cardboard to maintain a good degree of humidity in the compost. Using dry cardboard encourages the appearance of worms that accelerate the decomposition process. You can also do it based on fungi and bacteria, but it is much slower.
- Use the same amount of dry and wet waste. In this way, you prevent bad odors from forming and generate air circulation.
- Every two or three days, check the state of your compost: if it is too dry, add more water; if it is very wet, add more dry material.
- Stir the mixture once a week.
- Place a faucet in each compost bin that allows the leached liquid that forms in the containers to be extracted. This leachate, mixed with water, is a natural fertilizer for plants.
- From the third week, collect the organic compost tea.
- After a few months, take the organic compost obtained to enrich the substrate of the different plantations.
- Always have a container with a lid in the kitchen to make it easier and more comfortable to dispose of organic waste. Once full, you empty it into the compost bin.
Good to Know: Compost tea can be used to fertilize potted plants that bloom on your balcony or your balcony vegetable patch. It must be diluted at 10 cl per liter of water.
As you will have understood, composting on your balcony is both an ecological necessity but also a way to participate in improving our way of life.
No matter if you live in a small, you now have the possibility of limiting your carbon footprint by recycling all your organic food waste with a compost bin on your balcony.
Don’t wait any longer to save the planet by composting now!