May allow fruit flies in
Filter hard to remove
We purchased the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Epica is a New York-based home goods company that sells products ranging from garment steamers to coffee grinders. Its compost bin is a simple, but wildly popular product.
About a third of food produced worldwide ends up as waste that exhales greenhouse gases from landfills, so many eco-conscious households compost as a way to remove food waste from the trash stream. Whether you compost outside in your own bin or have a local compost pickup or drop-off, you need a short-term storage solution in the kitchen, which is where the Epica bin comes in.
I’ve been composting for more than 20 years and have used everything from 50-gallon drums to appliances that heat and grind the compost. To see if the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin deserves all its rave online reviews, I put the bin to use in my home over several weeks. I assessed the ease of use, odor control, and challenges. Read on for my insights.
Setup: Zero assembly required
It’s worth stating clearly here: This isn’t anything fancier than a pail with a lid. If you’re expecting more than that, you will be disappointed. While there are composting appliances that heat and grind your food waste, this is as dead simple as it gets.
As a result, the product requires no assembly, no setup. In fact, one of the features of the bin is that it’s only two solid pieces of metal, so there are no welds or seams to rust or create weak points.
The Epica compost bin does its (very simple) job well. It holds a gallon of food waste and keeps odor suppressed via its filtered lid.
The only real “setup” for a bin like this is deciding where to place it. Most compost buckets get hidden away because they’re either ugly, stinky, or both. The Epica is an attempt to address those twin problems and bring the compost bin out from under the sink, making it easier to access and use.
While I normally keep my regular compost bin under the sink for testing, I kept the Epica on the counter for my three weeks of testing to see if I liked the look and if the smell overpowered the charcoal filter in the vented lid.
Design: Attractive, simple steel pail
The brushed stainless steel fits in a modern kitchen, and the Epica also comes in an off-white version with black letters that read compost. The steel matched my appliances and will fit in just fine in most modern kitchens even if your appliances aren’t all stainless steel.
The lid and the pail are both solid pieces without tack welds, so there are fewer weak spots to rust or break. The handle is also stainless steel and is thick enough to be sturdy, but not so burly as to make the bucket heavy.
One drawback of stainless steel is that it does need some cleaning and polishing to stay looking sharp if you are leaving it on your countertop. Even just touching the pail and lid with less than pristine hands can result in a smudged look to the steel. You can use dish soap, water, and a microfiber rag to wipe the steel down. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners, which could discolor the metal.
Performance: High volume and low odor
The Epica compost bin does its (very simple) job well. It holds a gallon of food waste and keeps odor suppressed via its filtered lid. I kept the pail fairly front-and-center in my kitchen during the testing period, often didn’t empty it for several days, and never smelled an odor unless I was opening the bin to add more compost.
I found giving the bin a quick rinse after emptying was often all that was needed and prevented any stray bits of food waste from hardening onto the bin.
While it has a reasonable footprint on the countertop, the Epica bin is large, holding up to a gallon of food scraps, which is a lot and means fewer emptying trips even for a high-volume produce-consuming household such as mine.
While I didn’t feel any need to change the charcoal filter during my testing time, I did try removing the filter since several online reviewers complained that the filter was difficult to switch out. While they don’t make it easy, it is possible to pinch and remove the filter and replace it the same way.
Ease of Cleaning: Rinse and wipe
As mentioned above, the Epica bin does need to be cleaned and polished to stay looking good on your countertop. Like any stainless steel appliance, fingerprints show up easily and compost gunk can get stuck to the metal.
I found giving the bin a quick rinse after emptying was often all that was needed and prevented any stray bits of food waste from hardening onto the bin. Then, I’d occasionally wash with dish soap and dry it to keep it looking polished.
Price: Affordable, simple product
Thankfully, for such a simple product, Epica keeps the price reasonable at just over $20. At this price level, this is about as cheap as you can find a compost bucket, and it’s in line with other similar products available.
Competition: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin vs. Oxo Good Grips Compost Bin
Both of these are marketed as countertop compost bins that serve as temporary storage for a few days, but they each have very different looks and ways of controlling odor. Their price points are almost exactly equal. The Epica uses a charcoal filter and has aeration holes, while the Oxo Good Grips Compost Bin uses a locking mechanism to seal odors in and has no airflow.
Since you aren’t actually composting in bins of this type, either will work for temporary storage. The bigger differentiators here are size and style. The Oxo bin is made of smooth plastic with modern colorways, while the Epica features classic brushed stainless steel. The theme of your kitchen will likely dictate which you prefer. The Oxo is also much smaller at 0.75 gallons, which is just over half the capacity of the larger Epica. Larger households may want to go with the Epica so they don’t have to empty as frequently, while smaller ones may prefer the compact countertop footprint of the Oxo.
Yes, buy it.
Given the low cost and positive qualities mentioned above, the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin is a wonderful way to compost at home.
- Product Name Stainless Steel Compost Bin
- Product Brand Epica
- Price $23
- Weight 27 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7 x 11 x 8 in.
- Color Silver
- Capacity 1.3 gallons