I’ve never written a post on composting before, although it’s such a basic step towards a zero waste lifestyle! I live in an apartment in Berlin, so I don’t have my own garden to set up the compost bin. But I still collect organic waste in my flat and then take it out weekly to compost. There is also the option of composting inside your flat with vermicompost bin if you want to have worms as pets ? (Wasteland rebel writes about it here).
This time of the year when temperatures drop and leaves are turning yellow, I switch from my summer to winter version of composting. The two methods are not that sophisticated or different from each other, but they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages so they might be worth checking out!
Collecting organic waste in the summer:
In summer, collecting organic waste in the flat can get annoying, because of the fruit flies and other insects. If I’d have a garden, I’d take my organic waste out every evening, but since that’s not my situation, I don’t want to commit to carrying organic waste four floors on daily basis. As a solution, I keep my composting pile in the freezer or the fridge, wherever there is space. Therefore I can take it out once a week and have no colonies of ants and flies coming in. Though it definitely takes energy to keep your “trash” cool, so I am searching for an alternative. Let me know if you have ideas!
Collecting organic waste in the winter:
The previous week the temperatures drop so I started collecting organic waste outside the fridge. From October until May it’s not particularly hot in Germany, so I keep my organic waste in a bin with a lid. At the beginning, I used a biodegradable paper bag inside the bin, but I soon figured out that it makes no difference.
After taking out the compost, I have to wash the bin anyway and at least I save some resources by avoiding the paper bag. I still follow my routine of taking out the organic waste once a week. Because it’s not hot, I have no problems with insects, worms or smell. I wouldn’t leave it more than a week though! Ideally, your organic waste bin has a lid and the bin itself can be removed.
Where do I actually compost?
In Berlin, most buildings have an organic waste bin (Biotonne), but my current place doesn’t. Luckily there is an urban gardening project a couple of blocks away with a simple pallet composting bin. I volunteer to help with the garden and when organic waste turns into soil we use it to grow food. It’s lovely to see this natural cycle from up close.