We have a bin in our backyard that we now use for compost but we started when we were in an apartment. Our builiding backed up to train tracks (yes it was very noisy!) so my husband went out near the tracks, dug a hole, and started putting all our scraps there. It doesn't take much effort.
Now that we have a bin (really just a separated part of our yard) we throw our scraps in there, every now and then tear up newspaper and throw that it, and us a pitchfork about every 1-2 months to turn over the items. That's it.
It depends where you live though. My parents live out in the country with a lot of "critters" around so they had to buy a closed compost bin so that they didn't attract all the local wildlife.