Urban Compost
October 25, 2004 9:07 PM   Subscribe

SolidWasteFilter (oh boy!):
How to deal with compost in an urban setting.

So, I'm a single guy living by myself, which means I don't generate a lot of garbage. Problem is, when I need to dispose of something "wet" (veggie trimmings, plate scrapings), I don't have a disposal, so it all ends up going into the trash. Since I only generate enough garbage to fill up the can every two weeks or so, I can't leave this waste in there without generating quite a stink. I would consider composting, but I don't really have a backyard of any sort to do it in. Is there some secret to getting rid of solid waste of this sort? What else can I do with it? Smaller trash can that I can empty more often? Nifty laser incineration machine (omg plz say this exists)?
posted by Hackworth to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
If you don't mind the extra work you could start a worm bin. That still excludes meat scraps and cheese, but most other things can go in it. You do end up with compost & castings (em, worm poop), but not huge amounts of it. Trust me - it's gardening gold and you should have no trouble getting rid of it if you don't keep it.
posted by O9scar at 9:51 PM on October 25, 2004

Toss trash out twice a week regardless of the trash level, or at the very least once a week.
posted by riffola at 9:52 PM on October 25, 2004

yeah, i'm trying to reduce waste here. i'd hate to add more plastic trash bags to landfill, and I reserve the paper bags for recycling.

worm bin...hmm. how much else would I have to provide to keep 'em alive? I sometimes go a while without cooking food at home. I have a feeling they'd be more likely to end up like my plants: dead.
posted by Hackworth at 10:01 PM on October 25, 2004

As a single urban guy myself, I find that my shopping habits leave me with a lot of little plastic grocery bags. I keep them under the sink and rather than putting organic garbage right in the big 33-gallon trash bin I tie each meal's up in a little bag and put that in. The big bag fills up and gets dumped every week or ten days and never smells.
posted by nicwolff at 10:47 PM on October 25, 2004

Get a second, small trash can just for organic matter. A step can with a nice heavy lid will keep the room from smelling like your garbage.
posted by jjg at 12:13 AM on October 26, 2004

Do you have a fire escape? My girlfriend and I got a small compost pail (it was about $40- email me if you're interested and I'll see if I can dig up the info) last spring that we kept on ours. Worked great for a while, but the summer heat and humidity brought maggots, so we put it on hold. We're going to start it back up again now that the weather is cooling off.
posted by mkultra at 3:24 AM on October 26, 2004

We had a worm bin for a while in Seattle. It's pretty tough to kill the worms as long as you pay attention to the moisture level. There's a great book called Worms Eat My Garbage which is a good intro to how to do it. As far as non-stinky trash goes, two things we do to help that are 1) keeping all veggie ends that are non disgusting in a plastic bag in the freezer and cook them all down into veggie stock once every month or so. 2) anything that has the potential for quick rotting and stinking [especially chicken and dairy products] goes into a little container in the freezer and gets taken out with the trash right before the trash goes to the curb. We also keep recycling bins right next to the trash cans and have found that if we agressively recycle everything that is recyclable, we can get by with a much smaller trash can which then we can take out more often.
posted by jessamyn at 5:24 AM on October 26, 2004

hmm, in the freezer. not a bad idea. I have a bunch of those cheap ziplock reusable containers, which would probably be the perfect size.
posted by Hackworth at 10:29 AM on October 26, 2004

have you tried disabling extensions?
posted by the_ill_gino at 10:59 AM on October 26, 2004

We have this kitchen compost bin. They also sell a Kitchen compost crock. There is a charcoal filter on the vented top. We have no smell problems.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:01 PM on October 26, 2004

activated charcoal filters, another excellent idea. thanks.

also: disabling kitchen extensions got rid of the smell, but I just can't live without that kegerator applet. plus, now I can't print!
posted by Hackworth at 12:56 PM on October 26, 2004

A quick note about the filters. Yeah, they work nicely when the composter is closed, but as soon as you open it to put new scraps in, it's like something died in your apartment. Keep it near a window!!!!
posted by mkultra at 3:29 AM on October 27, 2004

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