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A compost pail is a simple way to turn everyday scraps and trash into garden gold. This stainless steel compost bin has a capacity of 1.3 gallons and includes a charcoal filter to neutralize odors. It’s large enough to hold at least a day or two's worth of kitchen waste and food debris, making this composing bin a great pick for your kitchen counter or under your sink.
Take note that you won’t be doing any actual composting in this bin. Instead, think of it like a convenient, odor-free way to house scraps and raw materials until you can add them to your outdoor composter or full-sized bin.
Marisa DeDominicis, Co-Founder and Executive Directive of Earth Matters NY, explains, “Composting is actively changing your food scraps and your organic matter into something applied to tree beds or outdoor plants.” So instead of running outside every time you have compostable material, the Epica’s solid and seamless stainless steel construction prevents rusting and messy leaks while it stores your organic waste.
You can start your organic waste on the road to becoming compost with this budget compost bin from OXO. This kitchen compost bin is super easy to keep clean—thanks to the smooth, crevice-free interior liner. Without seams, deep corners, or ridges, foods and liquids won’t build-up inside of this bin and cause unappetizing smells in your kitchen. It’s easy to rinse clean, according to reviewers, and keeps odors under control. Made of plastic, you can also store this container in the freezer—a recommendation that DeDominicis says helps to control odor.
One additional feature of this budget compost bin that users appreciate is the lack of vented holes in the lid. Sometimes these vent holes can be difficult to clear of small debris or become a breeding ground for fruit flies. The lid sits flush on the top of the compost bin but doesn’t seal shut so that airflow isn’t stifled. This airflow can slow the growth of bacteria and mold. With a capacity of 0.75 gallons, this is on the smaller side for a compost bin, but is suitable for collection of waste for a day (or two).
If you’re looking for a small living compost bin, this one from Uncommon Goods will catch your eye. The multi-chamber design provides easy access for depositing waste while giving ample room for live worms to get to work creating nutrient-rich casings.
If the thought of a living compost bin makes you squeamish, consider the benefits. Unlike indoor compost bins that must be transferred to larger outdoor composters for decomposition, this living composter, when combined with the right type of worms, will work efficiently on your countertop to transform waste into fertilizer ready for your garden use. Reviewers enthusiastically report that there is no odor or flies when this small indoor compost bin is properly managed. Keep in mind that its small size makes it more suited for a single person or couple than a large family.
Composting with worms, or vermicomposting, is a highly efficient and eco-friendly way to produce great quality indoor compost. The Quest Worm Factory is a popular pick for a small worm composting bin. This composter includes 4 trays that stack neatly and fit in compact spaces, like under your kitchen sink.
This composting bin with worms manages odors well. It also includes a spigot on the front for dispensing liquid from the trays (sometimes referred to as composting tea or liquid compost). However, a few people found the spigot to be awkward to use and had to move the composting bin onto a counter in order to dispense it. The most common suggestion that reviewers have is to add more ventilation holes to the lid in order to increase airflow. Otherwise, this small worm composting bin is perfect for apartments, condos, or under kitchen sinks.
“I would suggest, for conventional apartment dwellers, a worm bin. It can fit under your bed—if you’re not queasy—or under the sink, or in a closet. Make sure there is ventilation in the space you choose and the bin should have ventilation holes as well.”
Marisa DeDominicis, Co-Founder and Executive Directive of Earth Matters NY
If you don’t mind the company of red wiggler worms (contained, of course), then the Urban Worm Bag is a unique option for an indoor compost bin. This system utilized a layered bag with an easy access zipper to make managing and accessing your compost a cinch.
While you might think a worm bed system looks more like an outdoor compost bin, keep in mind that worms need a temperate environment. If you live in a region with very warm or very cold temperatures, your living compost system may suffer. When used as an indoor compost bin, you’ll appreciate the fact that the stand makes it easy to access processed compost (worm castings) from the underside of the bag with relatively little hassle. A few people mention that the zipper can be hard to close after harvesting your compost, but this appears to be more of the exception rather than the rule.
Bokashi is another method of composting, but this system utilizes an anaerobic process—which requires sealing off waste from exposure to oxygen. The SCD Probiotics All Seasons Indoor Composter is an easy way to get started with this composting process.
The 5-gallon bucket and bokashi starter material make it easy to begin fermenting your organic waste right inside your kitchen. The airtight seal ensures that no smells escape, according to reviewers. The end result from this indoor compost bin is a fermented product that needs to buried in our garden or added to a traditional composter for additional processing. However, the benefit is a quick turn-around time for processing organic waste and very rich nutrients for your plants.
A food recycler is another option if you’re looking for a countertop composter. Using heat and a grinder, this machine from Food Cycle Science processes waste into a reduced mixture that can be added to a worm bin or outdoor composter. It’s particularly useful for food scraps that are slow to decompose in traditional worm bins or compost piles, like bones and eggshells or items that are prone to odors or attracting pests, like meat and dairy products.
Most reviewers find this machine easy to operate and a simple thing to incorporate into their daily or weekly routine. Keep in mind that since the machine uses heat as part of the processing, there may be a slight odor while the unit Is in operating. Most people describe it as just the smell of cooked food and don’t find it particularly offensive. Once the cycle is over, the finished product is fine enough to add to your garden as-is, or put into a composter for further processing. This is a pricey option compared to typical indoor compost bins, but it eliminates concerns over a compost bin that sits for an extended period of time with food scraps inside that may cause odors or attract flies and rodents.
Activated charcoal filters are one means of controlling odors of indoor compost bins. This compost bin from Utopia Kitchen includes two charcoal filters to cut back on odors. The filters can be soaked in warm soapy water for regular cleaning and a quick refresh to keep them working for months at a time.
This stainless steel compost pail measures 14 inches tall and has a diameter of 9 inches, making it the right size for underneath your kitchen sink or on the countertop. The charcoal filters fit inside of the tight-fitting lid, and can last several months—depending on how often you clean them and how many odors your filter is tasked with absorbing.
The Full Circle Compost Bin uses compostable liners to keep odors away and make the composting process more streamlined. The 1.5-gallon container is made of recycled plastic and steel materials. Line each bin with a compostable bag that is easy to remove when full and can be placed directly into your outdoor composter or garden. There’s no mess and no clean-up to do once you’ve removed the bag. Just replace with a fresh one to keep collecting waste.
In addition, the Full Circle compost bin aims to control odors and flies with a unique air flow system that aerates your waste. This system, plus the use of compost bags, makes this a popular option with home users that are looking to minimize mess and odors sometimes associated with compost bins. It's also an excellent choice if you use a composting collection service, rather than composting yourself in your backyard.
Compost in style with this well-designed compost bin from Crate and Barrel. In addition to its on-point modern appearance, we also love that this composter is eco-friendly. It’s constructed of renewable bamboo and is biodegradable at its end of life.
But you won’t be ready to part with this composting bin any time soon. A carbon filter keeps odors under control, and once you’ve emptied the contents of the bin into your composter, the container is dishwasher safe for quick clean-up.
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For this document, we interviewed Marisa DeDominicis, the Co-Founder and Executive Directive of Earth Matters NY, for background information on what to look for in a compost bin and the best types of compost bins for different lifestyles.
Size: The size of your household and how much you cook should determine how big your compost bin needs to be. You should also consider how often you’ll realistically have time to empty it.
Features: From basic models that simply store compost to those that will also “cook” it, compost bins offer a wide variety of features. If you’re keeping it inside in a prominent place, you may also want to prioritize a bin’s style, so it doesn’t stick out in your home.
Ease of use: How much time and effort do you want to put into composting? If you’re looking for a simple way to cut down on waste, there are easy-to-use models that can help. If, however, you want one that actually breaks down the organic material, then you may need a bin that takes a bit more work on your part.