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– Apartment Composting –
Sarah’s Struggles and Solutions

Condo and apartment composting can be a real pain in the ass. As a tenant, even if you want to do the “right” thing, you’ve got to jump through numerous hoops and multiple meetings just to see a tiny change. Well, we think there’s a better way…actually, we know there is a better way.

This article was created in response to an email we received several months ago from Sarah, one of our tribe members. This is her apartment composting story…

My name is Sarah, and I’m a young professional living in downtown Toronto. I’ve recently become very interested in becoming more green.

compost tea food

I’m contacting you in hopes that you can give me some advice. I’m trying to convince the condo building in which I live to make composting available to it’s residents.

I contacted the board and got the following response:

“We have discussed composting many times at the Board, and at the present time we are not prepared to proceed.

Experience across the city shows that introduction of composting in a high-rise buildings is a very messy process, which causes significant wear on carpets, elevators, and creates a smell in the garbage room.

We looked into installation of a ‘tri-sorter’ which would allow residents to dispose of garbage, compost, and recycling down the existing garbage chute, however, we do not have enough space in our garbage room for the required equipment.

When we are directed to introduce a composting program by the city, we will take steps to ensure we are in alignment with the appropriate by-laws.”

I’m hoping you can give me some advice or direction on how I can make this happen or if this issue is way over my head and not to waste anymore time with it.

Thanks, Sarah

Since receiving this initial email, we have spoken to Sarah several times. She made a second attempt to bring up apartment composting to the condo board, but was met with the same response.

Frustrating, isn’t it Sarah? Don’t worry, we feel for you and all other apartment and condo dwellers.

Sarah has also provided us with the following information about her recent conversations with her condo board and her own personal research…

  • Her condo board will not set up a green committee, or even attempt to research the option for apartment composting.

  • The city of Toronto is trialing 40 condo buildings in the city with a composting program. She’s excited to see what comes of this and so are we.

  • Since her original email, the apartment building next door to her has implemented a composting program.

A Business Opportunity in the Making?

Have you ever heard the saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window”? Well it’s true. Depending on her mindset, Sarah can see this as a huge obstacle and completely give up OR she can see it as an opportunity for change.

As business owners, we tend to see challenges and obstacles as big neon signs pointing to further business opportunities. So where’s the opportunity in this?

apartment composting

Check out this incredible company in Vancouver called Growing City. These guys collect compostable waste from various offices and restaurants and compost it off-site. Similar to a city-run composting program, but with a heck of a lot more heart and passion.

Now tell us this?

Why couldn’t we adopt the business model used by Growing City and tailor it to apartment composting? We think we could.

Sarah, if you’re interested in taking your green ambitions to the next level, let’s meet up and discuss this opportunity. Or if anyone else is in the Toronto area, contact us, and we can get together and see what evolves.

Other Apartment Composting Solutions

The Tri-Sorter

A tri-sorter chute system is always an option, but it’s a challenge to retrofit older building with these systems.

We were speaking with a gentleman the other day from Wilkinson Chutes in Toronto, and he was explaining just how costly these retrofits can be. And as your condo board said, many times, the existing space in older condos and apartments does not allow for organic waste collection.

buy compost worms

Composting Worms – An In-house Solution

Another option is to buy composting worms and begin composting your organic wastes right inside your own apartment. To be honest, this is the solution with the smallest carbon footprint, however, the majority of people still don’t like the idea of having worms indoors. We’re trying to change that attitude, but it’s going to take time.


Do you have something to add about apartment composting? If so, drop us a line using our contact form, and we’ll add it to this article.

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