It’s no secret that composting is not a very common practice in the United States, and there are a few reasons why that is the case.
Whether you live in a town that doesn’t have a compost pickup service, or you don’t have a backyard for a compost pile, or you just simply have no idea where to start, you should know that there are still tons of easy options for you to get started!
This guide is dedicated to making composting look fun and simple. We want to show you that there are so many benefits of composting, and you can start as soon as today!
Feel free to read this guide all the way through for easy composting ideas, or click ahead to a section that catches your eye using the links below:
- Easy composting for beginners: 5 things to consider
- 3 of the easiest composting methods to try indoors
- 3 ways to compost outdoors with little effort
- 3 best compost bins for easy home composting
- What’s the easiest way to make compost?
Let’s start with some concepts you need to consider before you set up an easy composting system that works for you!
Easy composting for beginners: 5 things to consider
Don’t be intimidated by the start-up process. There are just a few things to think about before we talk about how to make easy compost at home. You don’t need a ton of time, money, or energy to make healthy, organic compost. Here are five things you need to understand about the process.
- The location of your compost bin can make it easier or harder to compost: Ideally, you need a good mix of sun and shade for your compost pile, but having one or the other just means it might take a bit longer to turn into dirt. Aim for a relatively dry spot that gets a good amount of sun during the day.
- You just need some basic tools: The easiest compost features a standard compost bin (or a trash can with the bottom cut out), and a mix of green and brown material, added in even layers. A basic shovel or pitchfork could also be helpful to mix up your compost and introduce oxygen to the system, but it’s not necessary.
- Keeping a basic compost pile is super easy, but it can take a while: If you follow the simplest method (dumping stuff in a pile and leaving it be), it could take up to 12 months to totally break down. Be prepared not to see immediate results with this method. There are quite a few ways to speed up your compost if you need it in a hurry!
- Focus on the three most important components of compost: Lots of airflow through the system will produce aerobic conditions and reduce harmful methane emissions. Maintaining a temperature of 160 will keep microbes alive and productive. Balanced inputs of green (food scraps) and brown (paper and yard waste) will create the healthiest end product.
- There are so many benefits of composting: 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. every year, and composting can divert all that from the landfill, creating nutrient-rich soil and closing the food waste loop.
Easiest composting methods to try indoors
Composting without having to trudge outside with a pitchfork and a heavy load of food scraps? Sign us up! If a whole outdoor compost operation is too intimidating, consider any of these compost methods that you can do from the comfort of your home. There are also so many cool indoor composting bins on the market!
1. Electric composting
If you find yourself needing a lot of pre-compost for your garden or you are always cooking and end up with tons of food waste and vegetable scraps, investing in a Lomi is how to make easy compost at home.
You can use a Lomi even if you know almost nothing about composting. All you need to do is add any organic material from your kitchen and around your home and press a button. Lomi will turn your food waste into nutrient-rich dirt in about three hours. It’s a perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t have the time or energy to commit to maintaining a compost pile.
Pro tip: Add in LomiPods to create the most healthy output for your garden, lawn, or houseplants!
Try this method if: you want a hands-off approach that will give you a steady supply of dirt.
2. Indoor worm compost system
Do you have any little scientists in your home? Setting up a homemade vermicompost bucket is an amazing way to involve the whole family in creating a closed-loop food and waste system.
Simply put, vermicompost is giving a system of worms your food scraps. The worms will eat your organic waste, digest it, and poop it out. Their poop, or castings, are incredible, nutrient rich materials you can add to your garden and plants.
Setting up a vermicompost system is cheap and easy! Drill 10-15 holes into the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket. Add a few scraps, a few worms, and shredded, damp newspaper. Worms love dark environments, so try not to disturb them, if you can help it. Add new material every week or so, and the worms will do the work for you! Teach kids about how the worms are behaving, and show them that finding a new use for our waste creates a more sustainable planet.
Pro tip: Don’t try to add in worms you find in the ground outside. You’ll need to order composting worms to add to your system for the best results.
Try this method if: you are ready to be an active participant in your own food waste management. Or, if you want a few pet worms!
3. Compost pickup service
If you don’t mind adding a small monthly subscription or bill, you should try curbside compost pickup. With thousands of operating community composting services in the U.S., you’re likely to find one that will come to your house! It is most common in larger cities, but there are more and more suburban and rural operations popping up.
Here’s how it works: get in touch with your local community composters. Arrange for a proper bucket, usually provided by the company. Then, all you have to do is just throw your vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, food waste, and any other brown and green materials into the bucket or bin.
Then, just like the trash or recycling truck comes to pick up your household’s waste, the compost truck will swing by your curb and grab your bucket! Some services replace your full bin with a clean one, whereas others will ask you to line your bucket with a compostable bag. They’ll just take the full bag and leave your bucket on the curb.
You don’t have to worry about the green to brown ratio; you don’t need to mix it or check for moisture levels. You just need to feel good about reducing the amount of waste you’re sending to the landfills. Even better, lots of these companies will actually give away their pre-compost to participating households! You hardly have to lift a finger to get your hands on nutrient-rich soil for your garden or houseplants.
Pro tip: Even though it’s not necessary, add in your own brown materials, like ripped-up paper bags and toilet paper tubes. It will keep the smell in check and reduce your paper recycling!
Try this method if: you don’t have many plants or a garden of your own, but you still want to divert organic waste away from the landfill.
3 ways to compost outdoors with little effort
Whether you’re lucky and your apartment has an outdoor space, or you live with a sprawling yard, there is a composting system made for you. With a few tools from your local gardening store and a bit of time, you can create healthy, beautiful pre-compost without putting in all that much effort.
Let’s get into a few different methods of easy outdoor composting
1. Wire bin compost pile
Looking for an easy-to-make, cheap, effective, and portable DIY compost bin? Try the wire bin method! All you have to do is pick up some wire mesh with a ½” grid or smaller (look for hardware cloth) and fasten it into a round barrel shape. An ideal size for the hardware cloth is about 10 feet long by 3 feet high. You can fasten it to whichever width you need with small bungee cords, rope, string, or anything you have lying around.
There are a few things we really love about this method. First, it only takes about 10 minutes to set up, and the materials are super affordable. Second, it is an awesome way to keep air flowing through your compost, creating perfect aerobic conditions.
Pro Tip: If your hardware cloth comes tightly rolled, try carefully rolling it out and weighing it down flat with heavy objects for an hour or two. It will be much easier to work that way!
Try this method if: You love a little weekend project and you’re ready for easy backyard composting!
2. Heap compost method
The heap compost method is a really easy way to start a compost pile. All you have to do is throw your scraps in a pile and let the microbes do their thing. It’s good to try to keep it contained to three feet by three feet. Try to make sure your heap stays at least 3 feet tall. You don’t have to worry about a brown to green ratio, but do your best to throw in some paper, sticks, or dead leaves every so often.
Pro-tip: Try to avoid diseased or seedy plants in your heap. They have a tendency to germinate in the pile and create their own elevated garden right on top of your pile! Tomatoes and squash commonly do this.
Try this method if: You have at least nine square feet of yard space, no time at all for maintenance, and don’t mind waiting up to a year for finished compost.
3. Barrel composter
So you don’t want an open pile in your yard, and you’re not willing to wield a pitchfork. Don’t worry! Barrel composters are a perfect way to simplify the process. Pick up a new bin and install it in your back yard, close to your home for easy access. All you have to do is throw in compost materials, like grass clippings, wood chips, dead leaves, and other yard waste. You can also put in fruit scraps, vegetable peels, shredded paper, and even tea leaves.
You don't have to worry about alternate layers of brown and green materials because once you add in all your organic material, you give the barrel a good tumble to create air pockets for the microbes to go to work. Barrel composters are a great way to make good compost with minimal effort.
The finished product from a tumble composter is perfect to add to your garden beds for growing food. It's a nitrogen-rich material that you can make in your own backyard! Making compost really couldn't be easier, and it's a perfect way to turn your green waste into something amazing for your plants without using any chemical fertilizers.
Pro tip: Make sure you keep out dairy products and weed seeds.
Try this method if: You don’t mind spending a bit of money to start your outdoor composting system, and you don’t want to attract pests.
3 best compost bins for easy home composting
Now that you know about all these super easy ways to compost, both inside and outdoors, let’s talk about a few of our absolute favorite bins. Each of them are easy to set up, simple to maintain, and create some of the best end products on the market.
The Lomi is a technological feat: using only heat, abrasion, and oxygen, this countertop composter speeds up the breakdown of organic waste, accelerating the composting process and leaving you with rich dirt to add to your house plants or garden.
It is so easy to use this machine, which is smaller than a breadmaker. It’s quiet, odor-neutralized, fast, and the bucket is dishwasher safe. It even breaks down Lomi-approved bioplastics and packaging!
See what other people are saying about Lomi!
Price: $499 | Shop from Pela Earth
Best feature: The best part about Lomi is how quickly it works. It seems like magic, but this small-but-mighty electric kitchen composter turns food waste into nutrient-rich dirt in less than four hours!
2. Subpod Mini
This in-garden worm farm and compost system is easy composting for beginners and experts alike. The way it works is simple: compost worms and other microbes live happily underground in the Subpod mini, free to come and go as they please. You regularly input kitchen scraps and other compostable items into the partially buried Subpod and the worms quickly break it down into amazing soil. It is so easy to feed your plants at the root level and you only need to maintain it for 5 minutes a week!
Price: $139 | Shop from Subpod
Best feature: We LOVE the beginner-friendly how-to guide under the lid–you never have to think twice about how to make the most of your Subpod Mini!
3. Green Cone
This food waste digester was invented in 1988 to sustainably and quickly ‘get rid of’ kitchen waste without worrying about critter problems. The best part is, it’s super easy! The green cone digests so much food, and the nutrients flow through the cone as nutrient-rich water, building healthy soil whether you have a garden or not!
Here’s how it works: the cone is partially above ground, and partially below. Simply toss in your food scraps from the top of the cone by removing the lid. You can add just about anything to the digester; besides food scraps, you can add meat, dairy, bones, oil, and even pet waste. The double-walled solar cone concentrates the heat and hyper-activates microbes, pulling waste down into the basket-shaped underground digestion chamber. Bugs and other microorganisms can travel freely, continually breaking down the material. The nutrients from the food waste enter the soil naturally by traveling down with the rainwater.
Price: $200 | Shop from Green Cone USA
Best feature: We can’t believe the Green Cone digests 10 pounds of wasted food, including dairy products, per week! Though the process does slow down in winter, this is an amazing option for anyone who doesn’t really need an end product for their garden.
What’s the easiest way to make compost?
There are many easy ways to make compost. One of the easiest and fastest ways to make compost is by using an electric composter. This method is very quick and requires minimal effort. However, with a few simple tools, and a mix of organic waste from the kitchen, you can create amazing, nutrient-rich material using other methods as well. You hardly have to commit more than 5 or 10 minutes a week to your compost system.
Whether you’re learning how to compost indoors or outside, you will be able to find a method that works best for you. You just need to decide how much space you need, how much effort you want to put in, and when you need your compost. It can take a while to make compost, but there are also quick methods, as well!
Written by: Jess Savage