How to Use a Countertop Composter


The average household produces a great amount of organic waste. In New York City, the average home will throw away about two pounds each day, according to a report by the city's Department of Sanitation. The story is the same for many of the nation's large cities. Because of the tons of organic waste this equals each year, countertop composting has become popular in urban settings. In concept, it follows the same basics of traditional composting, and once the smaller countertop container is filled it is transferred to a larger outdoor composting bin. These bins go on to naturally produce fertilizer for home and garden applications.

Things You'll Need

  • Countertop composting bin
  • Set your countertop composter in a location that is convenient and accessible for waste disposal. You may place the container near the trash can or on a counter near the sink close to the garbage disposal. You could use any container found around the home that holds about a gallon, but purchasing a specially designed composter will provide a container that will cut down on smells and blend into your home's decor. See the resources section below for several options.

  • Throw organic food scraps into the composter instead of the trash can. Greens, fruits and vegetables are best for composting. Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic materials, so all you need to do is add moist, fresh scraps to your composting container. As long as moisture, organic material and oxygen are present, decomposition will occur.

  • Stir your compost every few days to ensure fresh oxygen gets to your food scraps. You should see decomposition after only a few days.

  • Transfer the material from your countertop unit, when it becomes full, to a large outdoor container. If you live in an apartment building there may be a bin on the grounds of the complex. If not, consult your landlord to see if one can be put in place. The outdoor container will operate under the same principles as your countertop unit but will be much larger and may have grass clippings, leaves, and other plant matter in addition to organic food scraps.

Tips & Warnings

  • Break up larger scraps before throwing them in your composter. This will speed up the decomposition process. Use the composted material to fertilize a flower box or small garden. This will save on garden maintenance costs.

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