Composting in the city

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small monetary kickback. More info

Hi! Hello! Greetings! I’m Amy and I’m a crunchy friend of Jenn’s! In fact, we’ve been friends for 10+ years; we are former Trader Joe’s colleagues, and we love to discuss our crunchy lifestyles.

I’ve been a supporter of all of her work, even way back when she had the cutest wellness blog called “The Health Peanut.” When she approached me about writing about my compost situation at home, I jumped at it!

Composting In An Urban Setting

Pin for later


Firstly, you must understand that I am writing this story from the perspective of a city dweller that uses a compost service to pick up my full bucket on a weekly basis. A suburbanite with a compost pile in their own yard will have a very different perspective about the rules of composting. I do not have this luxury at the moment.

Getting Started with Bennett Compost

My husband, two terriers, one-eyed kitten and I live in an extra-tiny row home in South Philadelphia. We found Bennett Compost last spring at the Farm & Food Fest. I had noticed their logo'd five gallon buckets on many of my neighbors’ stoops as I walked to the subway in the morning. After finding out how easy it was to sign up and get started, I began my composting journey.

Bennett brought me my own bucket (with lid!) and gave me a long list of items that could and could not be composted. They also suggested putting newspaper at the bottom or inserting a paper bag to keep the bucket cleaner.

Bennett Compost suggested using crumpled up paper at the bottom of the bucket to make it easier to clean out

Bennett Compost suggested using crumpled up paper at the bottom of the bucket to make it easier to clean out

Most of the items on the list were materials that always ended up in my trash can—eggshells, veggie scraps, tea bags, nasty leftovers, coffee grinds, paper, banana peels, tissues and paper towels. Thus began the question and the game of: How much can we keep OUT of the trash?

Items That Are Surprisingly Compostable

  • toilet paper cardboard rolls
  • vacuum bag crud
  • tissues and paper towels
  • last night's vegetarian leftovers
  • wooden toothpicks and skewers
  • cotton balls
  • q-tips
  • pet hair

Composting Goes Hand in Hand with Zero Waste and Nearo Waste

This is a question Jenn has been focused on for quite some time at Honey Rule. Composting definitely encompasses the mission of "Nearo Waste" or "Near Zero Waste". This simple question is really what got me excited about composting. Using the list of do’s and do not’s that Bennett provided me; I began to easily fill up my bucket week after week.


You’re probably wondering if it smells; Nope! The tight lid on the bucket does a great job of keeping stink at bay. In spring, summer, and fall, I keep the bucket on my porch. Heat helps compost materials faster. Plus it’s one less thing in my tiny kitchen. During these snowy days, I’ve been bringing my bucket into the kitchen so I’m not running outside in bare feet 3+ times a day. You can keep your bucket indoors or outdoors; whatever works for you!

Why I Compost

And why do I compost? Well, firstly because I care about the environment. Secondly, I like saving money on trash bags, as I only use one a week. And lastly, because Bennett brings me free compost soil whenever I request. This soil is wonderful for my potted patio garden.

Go Through My Garbage!

In the photos below, you can take a good peak at my garbage – a moldy apple, onion skins, paper towels, compostable packing peanuts, citrus peels, brittle branches from my holiday tree, coffee grinds with filters, eggshells, Lush paper bags, a compostable cheese wrapper, and more! But it varies from season to season or week to week. One week it was full of dead flowers and clippings from my teeny potted garden. During the holiday season, it was filled with fallen pine needles. During the summer, it’s full of corn cobs and peach pits. And dog hair from their many summer hair cuts. I even put ashes from my fire pit in there.


Most exciting for Jenn, you can compost wipes, paper towels and tissues! What’s most important about this fact is there are solutions for anyone trying to achieve “Nearo Waste.” My option just so happens to be composting. Have fun out there!

If you have any questions about composting, ask them in the comments below!

Cover photo by Neslihan Gunaydin