How to compost

How to compost

Imagine the positive impact on our planet if everyone started composting. Not only would it significantly reduce the amount of methane released from landfills, but it would also free up 40% of landfill space for other forms of waste.

Why composting?

Composting has numerous benefits beyond reducing the volume of trash in landfills. Compost is a valuable soil amendment that improves soil quality and provides a healthy environment for plants. With more people living in cities, it is important to find ways to compost even if you don't have access to a garden.


What are the options?

While it may seem daunting, composting can be done in small spaces and doesn't have to be smelly. In fact, properly maintained compost doesn't produce much of an odor at all.

There are several options for composting in an urban home, and it's important to find what works best for you. Whether it's a small worm bin, a compost tumbler, or even just a pile in the corner of your balcony, taking small steps towards composting can have a big impact on our planet.

Back to blog

DIY indoor compost bin

By using this DIY kitchen compost bin, you can easily reduce your household waste and turn it into nutrient-rich soil for your plants and gardens.

Items such as egg shells, coffee grounds, and stale bread can be added to the bin, allowing them to decompose and break down into a soil that is beneficial for plants.

Not only is this a great way to reduce waste, it is also an affordable and eco-friendly option for those who are interested in composting at home. With a little effort, you can create a beautiful, rich soil that can be used on any plants or gardens of your liking.


1. Choose a convenient location for your indoor compost bin. For example, the space under the sink might work as it's in the kitchen, locked to protect tiny hands and large enough to keep a decent family sized compost.

2. Find or buy a plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid about 24 inches tall or taller (it needs a lid to keep the soil moist and to keep unwanted insects out).

3. Once you have your container you’ll need to punch holes in the bottom to create airflow and allow your compost bin to work its magic!

4. To avoid a mess, use a tray lined with a layer of newspaper and put compost bin onto the tray.

5. Now add dirt! Depending on the size of the container we suggest a couple of inches deep.

6. Next step. Add a layer of dry stuff like newspaper, and you’re ready to go!

Worm bin

Vermicomposting, or using worms to compost, is an affordable and low-maintenance method. You can create a worm composting bin, also called a vermicomposter, in various ways.

Below are instructions for building an indoor vermicomposter. Alternatively, you can purchase one. Remember to place the bin in an indoor area to avoid exposing the worms to extreme temperatures. It's also wise to put the bin in a basement or secluded spot, as it produces compost and worm tea.

Worm bin

To get started, you'll need the following materials:

  • A small stainless steel bucket with a carbon filter
  • Kitchen scraps such as salad greens, eggshells, and coffee grounds
  • A container that suits your needs
  • A minimum of 1,000 red worms, which you can obtain from a local bait shop
  • Dampened newspaper, sawdust, cardboard, or straw
  • Optional: contact paper
  • Tools: an electric drill.

Starting your own worm composter can seem daunting, but with a few basic instructions, it's easier than you might think! Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Set up your composting station. Keep a small stainless steel bucket with a carbon filter next to your sink for scraps. The carbon filter will keep odors contained. As you start, feed your worms non-acidic vegetables like salad greens, ground up eggshells, tea bags, and coffee grounds. Avoid oily foods, clippings from house plants, or any animal matter.
  2. Order your worms. You'll need a minimum of 1,000 red worms to start with, which may seem like a lot, but they will not overpopulate. They will reproduce to maintain a healthy population.
  3. Choose your container. A reusable plastic storage container with air holes and a lid works well, or you can use wood or other non-permeable materials. Adjust the container size to fit your apartment, with 6-8 inches depth, 24 inches length, and 6-8 inches width for a small kitchen, and up to a larger, layered worm composter for a larger pantry or closet.
  4. Drill or poke air holes into your container.
  5. Add bedding to your container. Pre-purchased composters come with bedding, but you can make your own with newspaper, old cardboard, sawdust, and even pieces of straw. Dampen it slightly to make it feel like a wrung sponge.
  6. Empty your worms into the container, and cover them with dampened newspaper. Add a few handfuls of your kitchen waste, chopped into smaller pieces for easier eating, and adjust the amount as you get to know your worms. Start with smaller amounts of scraps, ½-1 cup at a time, and never have more than a 1/2 inch layer of food scraps across the surface area.
  7. Store your container in a dry, temperate place. Signs that you're overfeeding your worms include black flies in your compost bin. If you find black flies, remove some of the food and give them less in the future.
  8. Harvest your castings after 3-6 months. To do this, create a homemade single-level container and push your worms and vermicompost to one side. Lay fresh bedding and food on the other side, and the worms will migrate over. Harvest the composted matter from the other side and add new, fresh bedding. Mix the castings into potting soil and layer it over the soil in your planters. As you water, the nutrients will drain into the soil.

With these steps, you'll have a thriving worm composter in no time!

Bokashi indoor composter

Bokashi, a composting method originated in Japan, utilizes microbes to decompose food waste, creating a fermentation process that eliminates any unpleasant odors that typically come with composting.

Not only does bokashi keep your composting process odor-free, but it also has the added benefit of allowing for the composting of all food waste, including meat, fish, and dairy products.

Bokashi composting is a simple and effective way to recycle food waste while creating nutrient-rich soil.

It's easy to get started with a home-sized bokashi kit, which can be purchased online or at some home and garden supply shops.

These kits usually include a 5-gallon lidded bucket with spigot, along with a bag or two of bokashi compost starter. Some kits may also include a plastic masher, scoop, and additional food scrap collector.

Using the bokashi method is straightforward. Simply sprinkle a handful of bokashi bran each time you add kitchen scraps to the bucket, stir, and tightly close the lid. Some suppliers recommend chopping the scraps into small pieces first.

Once the bucket is full, let it sit for 7-10 days to allow the microbes to do their work. During this time, drain off any liquid using the spigot and use it as a compost tea for your plants or garden.

For apartment dwellers, there are a few minor issues to consider when using bokashi. First, once the compost is thoroughly pickled, it will need to be emptied into the ground to complete the process. This can be challenging if you don't have a personal garden, but there are solutions available. Additionally, you will need two bokashi buckets - one that's full and breaking down, and another "in process" bucket for your daily scraps. This may be a space and cost issue for some, but it's a small price to pay for the benefits of bokashi composting.

Composting FAQs

Where do I keep my indoor compost bin?

If you're planning on indoor composting, a smaller compost bin is recommended. Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to finding a location for your compost bin.

You can place it in a closet, your basement, on your kitchen counter, or even inside a cabinet. However, it's important to keep in mind that your indoor composter should be kept in a dry location that is relatively dark. This will help ensure that your composting process goes smoothly and without any unpleasant odors.

How can I accelerate the composting process?

Composting can take time, but there are several things you can do to speed up the process. Here are a few tips:

  1. Keep it warm: Heat will speed up the process tremendously. A warm compost pile can produce usable compost in as little as 4-6 weeks. Make sure your compost pile is located in a sunny spot that gets plenty of heat.
  2. Add some twigs: Putting some twigs along the bottom of the bin will allow air flow and speed up the process. This helps to keep the compost from becoming too dense and will help it to break down more quickly.
  3. Turn it frequently: Stirring the compost frequently will allow more oxygen to get into the compost. This will speed up the decomposition process. We recommend turning it at least once every other day if not more.
  4. Mix in greens: Grass clippings, manure, and leaves are all great options to mix into your compost. Be sure to include them into the soil to help accelerate the process. The greens will add nitrogen to your compost, which will help it to break down faster.

By following these tips, you can accelerate the composting process and produce rich, nutrient-dense compost for your garden in no time.

Now, what to do with the soil?

There are lots of ways to use your compost and plenty of others who might want some alos.

Use it in your houseplants and container gardens.

  1. Use it in your houseplants and container gardens.
  2. Gie to local community gardens: Many community gardens accept compost donations to improve their soil quality and grow healthy plants.
  3. Farms: Small-scale farmers often appreciate compost donations to improve soil fertility and yield.
  4. Compost pickup services: There are many companies that offer compost pickup services for a fee.
  5. Municipal composting programs: Many cities and towns have composting programs that accept food scraps and yard waste.
  6. Landscaping companies: Some landscaping companies use compost in their work and may be interested in accepting donations.
  7. Non-profit organisations: Some non-profit organisations, such as urban farming or food security organizations, may be interested in accepting compost donations.

Remember to check with each organisation or service beforehand to see if they have any specific requirements or restrictions for compost donations.

We hope that our blog post has encouraged you to experiment with home composting.

If you decide to try any of the DIY solutions we've suggested, we would be thrilled to see pictures of your finished indoor composting setups.

Please send your creations to us at @malapackaging on Instagram, and we'll be happy to share them on our story!