While composting might seem like the last thing you want to take on in your tiny NYC apartment, it’s easier than you think, and, if done correctly, won't stink up your space or attract any rodents or pests. All you need is a proper bucket (equipped with a filter and a lid that seals very well) and a membership at a community garden (preferably within 10 minutes walking distance from your apartment).

If you’d rather not go through the trouble of becoming a garden member, you can also look into donating your rich, earthy stash to a nearby farmers’ market. (The North Brooklyn Compost Pile has been welcoming waste for seven years now.) But becoming a community garden member only requires a brief orientation and a small fee, and entitles you to easy garden access—which means a rare opportunity to find sanctuary in the midst of the daily hustle-and-bustle. You’ll also be in-the-know about neighborhood events, growing and cooking workshops, and beekeeping lessons. Some garden spaces have abundant community beds, so even if you don’t have a plot of your own, you can still partake in communal tomatoes and herbs.

There are several essential things to remember when making compost. Raw food scraps, egg shells, peanut shells, coffee grounds, and shredded cardboard are all alkaline and will decompose well without creating too much of an odor or attracting bugs. Anything inorganic will not decompose efficiently and cause the mixture to become too acidic; same goes for meat, bones, dairy, fish, fats (no nut butters!), lemons, limes, cooking oils, colored paper, coal ash, dog or cat waste, diseased plants, and synthetic chemicals.

Our suggestion: take your compost to the donation site at least once every two weeks. Make sure your roommates have been thoroughly debriefed on what can and cannot go in the bucket. And try to keep the whole operation as local as possible; in other words, please don't squeeze your way onto the subway with a bucket full of compost.