Urban Composting Made Simple

by Tracy Fay

Dear Readers,

I’ve been bestowed the Greenest graces of friend and fellow blogger, Tracy Fay, author and founder of ModernUrbanLiving.com to share her inspiration and simple tips on urban composting.  We look forward to more from Tracy and if anyone is interested in guest posting, I’m all ears!




I have many fond memories of the garden my family kept at our Colorado home. One memory stands out above all others is my step father’s almost fanatical devotion to composting. Thanks to his constant drilling we became accustomed to saving all the leftover food scraps for the compost pile we kept in the corner of our garden.

Now far removed from the mountains of my home state, I still experience a strong twinge of guilt every time I toss an apple core or an orange peel in the garbage. I always thought composting wasn’t exactly conducive to living in a cramped New York City apartment. Then I read a post on Green Air that inspired me to challenge that perception and I designed a simple but effective solution to help do my part for the environment and banish my gardening guilt forever.

First the basics, you’re going to need some type of receptacle to keep your leftover scraps of food in and I have found a relatively inexpensive compost bin that holds nearly a gallon of organic waste It comes in either ceramic or brushed silver and is so small and elegant it looks as if it could be filled with cookies rather compost scraps!  The pail features a special lid with a charcoal filter to absorb food odors and its sturdy handle makes transporting easy.

Before you start adding scraps, remember to wash your fruits and vegetables. This will help remove any larvae and keep fruit flies away from your pail. It’s also important to note some items to avoid scrapping. In general meat, fish and dairy products should not be added to compost and should therefore be omitted from your composting pail. Most fruits and vegetables are fine however but for a full list of items go to the NYC Composting Project’s website.

They also have helpful hints on building your own indoor worm bin for compost, read more about that on their site.( http://www.nyccompost.org/how/wormbin.html)

Now that you have your compost scraps you’re going to need to get rid of them. You should try to empty your pail every couple of days. The American Community Gardening Association represents both rural and urban community gardens all over the country and can help locate a garden near you.  Most gardens have composting bins on site, making it easy for locals to just drop off their unwanted food scraps. Who knows? While your there you may be bit by the gardening bug and cultivate a plot of your own.

The satisfaction I get from doing my part to conserve resources and help the environment is absolutely worth the small amount of effort it takes to help my community composting project. With the proper equipment and preparation urban composting is possible; my hope is everyone will give it a try!

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