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Food & Home

Composting and The City

Your easy guide to getting started

Written By SWAY

And just like that…it seems composting is slowly becoming mainstream, and frankly this is even better news than the return of Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda to our screens.

One thing though that hasn’t changed since hit show Sex & The City first aired 20 years ago: the lack of space that comes with living in a big city (remember how Carrie stored things in her oven , which I have seen NYC friends do). So, for all our good intentions, for all of us not quite gentlemen and women farmers yet, how does one get rid of organic food waste in a sensible manner which:

 a/doesn’t take space

b/ doesn’t smell (the point here is not to justify your costly addiction to Le Labo candles)

c/ is easy so that you actually do it

Let’s explore, shall we?

First things first, why is compost so important?

1.3 billion tones of food is lost or wasted every year according to the UN (that’s an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world, insane right?!). Food waste is estimated to account for 8-10 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. The reason: organic matter rotting in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas several times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Composting can drastically reduce the amount of methane released in the atmosphere, and the carbon produced in the process will be kept in the soil.  Crucially the compost will then be fed back to the earth, giving it so many of the nutrients our agricultural systems deplete her from. And because nature is amazing, in turn plants will become more efficient at keeping Co2 in the ground ( see our article on regenerative agriculture to learn more about this).

If 48% of the world started composting, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.14 gigatons by 2050, imagine that!

City composting 1-0-1

As a city dweller you might fall into one of three categories:

1.You might be lucky to have your own composting area in your home or flat or be interested in getting one in which case it’s about finding the most practical way to hold on to your food scraps on an day to day basis

2.You might not have your own composting site but live in a city which offers organic waste collection ( London, Paris, Milan amongst others all do, reach out to your council and ask them more about it). In this scenario the focus might be on how to find the right container that will carry you through from one week to the next .

3.Last case scenario: you have access to neither of those things but are aware of the space food waste takes and are willing to play your part to minimize it with the extra bonus of some plant food for your beloved indoor companions or you simply feel ready to get started on the homemade composting journey.

Getting started

A/ If your main concern is storing your food waste without smell in an eye-pleasing option on your kitchen counter top, the below compost caddy bins are for you. All come with integrated carbon filters to keep smell at bay and are neutral looking enough that they will work in any kitchen environment. If you feel like adding a pop of colour or texture to your new composting adventure, go for a slightly retro looking option.

B/If are ready to start making your very own compost, there are two ways you can go:

1.The first one is getting started on that homemade compost, it’s easier than ever and doesn’t take much space. Some composters like the Transfarmer one even let you compost on one side and have plants grow on the other, how brilliant! The trick: tiny living organisms ( aka mini worms) break down food scraps into compost over the course of a few weeks just like it happens in nature.

2.If you feel dealing with your flatmate is the most you can bare when it comes to sharing your living space, then turning to a Bokashi compost or an electrical composting machine might solve your issue.

Bokashi uses fermentation to create a liquid type of compost, the process is odourless and doesn’t require much space . Go for the Organko it’s the most practical one we have found for an urban kitchen.

Meanwhile an electrical composting machine will dry and grind your organic waste, reducing its volume by 90% . You’ll be left with a powder that you can sprinkle on your plants whilst not as rich as a traditional compost it still caries nutrients and you’ll have done your part for the planet with very little inconvenience, albeit at a higher price point. In that department if you have the space we highly recommend the Kalea Kitchen Composter, it’s German engineering at its best and in comparison with other similar appliances is the only one that makes sense to spend that much money on.

Happy Composting !

Written By SWAY




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