How to Compost in an Apartment


Whether you rent a simple one-room apartment or live in an elaborate studio apartment, worm composting provides an ideal compost method for individuals without access to a yard. Contained in a small bin, red worms convert a variety of kitchen food scraps into a nutrient-dense humus material in approximately ten weeks, according to Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture. Use the finished compost as a rich fertilizer for your potted plants or indoor herb garden. One of the most important steps in composting in your apartment with worms is ensuring that you provide the correct balance of food scraps for your compost worm population.

Step 1

Weigh a week's worth of food scraps and provide 1 square foot of surface space for each pound of weekly food waste. For example, if you produce 3 lbs. of food scraps each week, then a 2-by-2 foot bin provides more than enough room for your composting worms. Choose a wooden or plastic bin that's around 12 inches tall. Drill 10 to 15 evenly spaced drainage holes in the bottom of the bin with a 3/8-inch drill bit.

Step 2

Fill your compost bin ¾ full with damp, shredded newspaper. Dump red worms into the bin and cover it loosely with a sheet of cardboard. Store the bin in a dark location that remains between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, such as the cupboard beneath your kitchen sink. Check the bedding every two to three days to ensure that it stays about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 3

Add additional food scraps once a week. Bury mild food waste, such as vegetable peels and fruit waste, beneath several inches of the moist bedding to minimize potential odor problems. Crush eggshells into a fine powder with a rolling pin and sprinkle them into your worm bin once monthly to provide grit, which helps your worms digest their food more quickly.

Step 4

Scoop finished compost from the bin with a small trowel. Sprinkle the finished compost on your potted plants, mixing it thoroughly with the soil for the maximum benefit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid giving your worms meat, bones and dairy products, which may create odor problems and attract pests, such as mice and insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Worm bin
  • Scale
  • Drill with 3/8-inch bit
  • Red worms
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard piece
  • Food scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Rolling pin
  • Trowel


  • Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture: Worm Composting
  • "The Worm Book"; Loren Nancarrow & Janet Hogan Taylor; 1998
  • New Mexico State University: Vermicomposting (pdf)
  • Brooklyn Botanical Garden: Invasive Earthworms---A Threat to North American Forests
Keywords: worm composting, apartment composting, composting

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.