Over the weekend I helped my girlfriend build a compost for her apartment. Ever since I built my worm bin last August she’s wanted to build one as well but we just never got around to it (for those directions click here). My 10 gallon bin is almost full after almost 9 months of use so it was time to get rid of some worms and compost anyway. Here are a series of pictures from my first young and urban consulting project :)
We bought an 18 gallon bin from Ace Hardware in Porter Square (Somerville/Cambridge, MA) for $6 so we definitely didn’t break the bank. The next thing we did was borrow a power drill from one of our friends in order to drill holes in the bin to promote airflow.
Sorry Tufts Daily, I enjoyed reading you but it’s time for you to become worm food.
After shredding a bunch of newspaper we had to get it “moist” i.e. not wet and not dry but somewhere in between.
I had brought over about a half-pound of worms from my bin for Sarah’s new bin. First we put down about 3 inches worth of torn newspaper bedding followed by the worms.
First food scraps to the compost, nom nom nom.
We then covered up the food scraps with another 3 inches or so of newspaper bedding.
Then we cut out a piece of cardboard to rest on top of the bedding. This helps to keep the smell down and to keep the worms from crawling out of the bin. After a few months the cardboard will need to be replaced simply due to moisture and the worms eating it away. I haven’t had a cardboard top on my bin for a few months now and I don’t notice any smell so maybe it’s not really necessary.
We bought a mini hand rake thingy from the hardware store which is used to peel back the newspaper bedding when you’re adding food scraps to the compost, then you recover the food with the newspaper scraps. This costed us about $4.
Here’s her new compost hidden away under the sink. It’s important to keep the compost somewhere cool, dark, and dry.
She lives with a few other people so she dedicated a tupperware container for leftover food scraps and wrote some simple directions: no animal products, no egg shells (you CAN compost them but cleaning them, drying them, and crushing them is really not worth it in my opinion), cut scraps into small pieces (makes for faster composting), and some examples of things that can be composted like coffee grinds and veggies. Make sure to wash the tupperware each week because it can start to smell pretty gnarly if you neglect it. She said that within a day, the tupperware was full of food scraps from her roommates :) for me I usually empty my tupperware into my worm compost once each week and it’s mostly coffee grinds and fruit scraps (apple cores and banana peels).
We were able to build this compost for around $10 total. It’s a super easy, cheap, and effective way to reduce your contribution to the landfill. With composting and recycling I find that I have dramatically reduced the waste in my life. For more “Life without the Landfill” tactics, check out my 30 day life experiment from August 2011 http://theyoungurbanunprofessional.com/august-life-without-the-landfill/