How to dispose of biowaste if you live in an apartment?

We can all contribute in various ways to help solving waste problems, preserving natural resources and sustainable economic development of the local community. If we compost our own biowaste, about 1/3 of our waste does not enter the municipal waste streams and we produce valuable humus that we can use in our own garden, for indoor and balcony plants.
If you want to reduce the amount of waste you produce, reduce utility costs and unburden the environment – we invite you to compost!

Even if you do not have a yard, you can collect biowaste separately and dispose of it in these two ways, and both will lead you to quality humus.

1. You can compost in the apartment or on the balcony.
For composting, the sufficient space is the size of a small bin, it does not require the knowledge of experts but only knowledge of a little of theory, it actually takes a little time, and you can buy a composter in a specialty store or make it yourself. Today we have various composters of a wide price range on the market. If you decide to make the composter yourself, the most important thing is that the bottom is permeable to water and that the biowaste is in contact with air.

It is important to mix green, fresh, wet biowaste with stagnant, dry, woody biowaste in a 1: 2 ratio in the composter. One handful of green material is mixed with two browns, e.g. kitchen waste that is mostly fresh and moist is mixed with dry leaves, chopped cardboard, kitchen towels, napkins, cardboard sleeves, sawdust and similar. If you adhere to this ratio, there will be no unpleasant odors, but you will feel a pleasant smell of forest soil.

Creating humus is a slow process and, if it is a larger household, it is possible that one composter will not be enough. Therefore, if you are limited by space in the apartment, try to reduce the amount of biowaste that will end up in the composter first. As a reminder, we have summarized a few tips on how to reduce kitchen biowaste in the article “With simple recipes to less kitchen waste”.

An excellent video of the technique of decomposing organic ingredients within 30 days in a container with a volume of 40 – 60 l, was made by colleagues from Friends of the Earth Croatia (Zelena akcija), which you can watch HERE.

2. If you are not able to compost like described above, we suggest that you collect biowaste in an Organko bin.
Unlike composting, biowaste in Organka is decomposed anaerobically, by a fermentation process, and a spread that is enriched with effective microorganisms is used. Microorganisms initiate fermentation and produce a compost base, organic fertilizer for an organic garden or plants, and a natural drain cleaner. When Organko is filled, it needs to be emptied at the garden composting site where this waste will decompose to humus.

You can use the compost you get to feed your plants in the apartment, on the balcony, in the garden, or you can check if there is a composting site somewhere near you where you can dispose of the decomposed biowaste from your composter.

WHAT CAN WE COMPOST:
• raw vegetable leftovers
• fruit leftovers (not lemon)
• potato peel
• coffee grounds
• leftover tea with a bag
• egg shells
• cut grass, leaves, withered flowers, weeds, old earth from flower pots, chopped branches
• in small quantities and animal hair, feathers, paper, charcoal or wood ash.

WHAT WE CANNOT COMPOST:
• inseminated weeds
• diseased plants
• leftovers of cooked dishes
• meat, bones
• larger quantities of newsprint
• color magazines
• diapers
• dog and cat feces
• feces in general
• the contents of the bags from the vacuum cleaner
• ash of hard and brown coal and grill coal.

NEVER put waste containing chemicals on the composting site, eg:
• old medicines
• paint and oil residues
• plastic packaging
• Styrofoam
• painted and impregnated wood.

If you would like to know even more about composting, download the full composting manual here: UniCompoST composting manual. It provides answers to questions such as why to compost, and also deals with process parameters and all stages of composting, as well as examples of good practice.