Easy to clean
Compact and lightweight
Design is a little dated
Here’s a sobering thought: in the U.S., food scraps and yard waste make up an estimated 30 percent of the garbage we send to landfills. Beyond just taking up enormous amounts of space, landfill organics expel methane, a greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Using small composters, like the OXO Good Grips Compost Bin, can help funnel some of that good nitrogen and carbon directly back into the plant growth cycle through the “black gold” of soil enrichment: compost. Saving banana peels might seem small, but imagine what a difference it would make if we all did it.
Cramming banana peels and eggshells into plastic produce bags and storing them in the freezer is admittedly both inconvenient and questionably unsanitary, but we’ve always been a little apprehensive about countertop composting. Will it smell? Will there be flies? In the name of science, and also for our readers’ sake, we decided to confront our fruit fly fears and see how the Good Grips compost bin handled three weeks of kitchen scraps.
Design: On-brand and ergonomic
The OXO Good Grips brand was founded in 1990 by Sam Farber. He was inspired to create an ergonomic kitchen line after observing his wife struggling to manage a potato peeler due to arthritis. At the time, traditional kitchen items didn’t address grip, so he decided to create products that could be used easily, regardless of the shape, size, or grip strength of the hands operating them. In the nearly 30 years since his line emerged, it’s grown well beyond just grippy can openers and potato peelers. The rounded, ergonomic aesthetic persists, though.
The shiny white exterior and avocado-green accents might be a little cheerful for modern kitchens, but it’s cute and harmless enough.
The Good Grips compost bin remains true to the OXO legacy with smooth, rounded corners, and easy one-handed lid and handle operation. Almost everything about it is easy to manage, from the no-latch lid that stays open when you want it to, to the broad mouth of the bin, to how easy it is to clean. The construction is double-walled, meaning that an interior bin is fitted snugly into the lidded exterior base. You can’t separate them, but this interior bin has a rounded bottom, allowing scraps to slide out easily. No composting bags are required, and they honestly don’t even work that well with the design (they bunch at the back lid joint).
The shiny white exterior and avocado-green accents might be a little cheerful for modern kitchens, but it’s cute and harmless enough. We left ours out on the counter, sitting up against a white fridge, and it was pretty easy to ignore. There’s a charcoal version available, too, which is a little more understated.
Performance: Works like a [shiny, plastic] charm
We filled our bin with eggshells, various fruit peels, all sorts of pitifully wilted greens, expired produce, cooking scraps, and a daily mountain of coffee grinds. After dumping a week’s collection, all we had to do was rinse it with warm water and give it a few swipes with a wet dishcloth. No scrubbing was required, and there was no lingering smell whatsoever.
We filled our bin with eggshells, various fruit peels, all sorts of pitifully wilted greens, expired produce, cooking scraps, and a daily mountain of coffee grinds.
While we don’t have any major functional complaints, removing the lid is an advertised feature of the bin, and we never got to the point where it was easy. We had to pull so hard to remove it, we narrowly averted showering the kitchen with decaying plant matter. If you have use of both hands, removing the lid before dumping the bin isn’t really necessary; we had no trouble holding the lid out of the way. Someone with limited grip or hand usage would benefit most from removing the lid, but they’ll also struggle the most with removing it.
Size: Better for small households
We initially weren’t sure the small, 0.75-gallon bin would be big enough to handle the daily coffee grinds and vegetable-heavy home-cooking we planned to put it through, but it’s actually the perfect size for a household of two. The bin was full at the end of each week, but we think emptying and rinsing a bin of warm food scraps is probably best done weekly anyway, regardless of capacity.
It’s the perfect size for a household of two.
Households with four or more people will either need to empty the bin more frequently or buy more than one. For the weeks that we weren’t able to make it to our community’s compost drop-off, we dumped the contents into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for storage.
Portability: Light and comfortable
At about 1.25-pounds, the bin is nice and lightweight and the broad handle makes it comfortable to carry. We walked the ten blocks to our neighborhood compost collection site swinging it like a little lunch pail.
Price: Very reasonable
We think $20 is a fair price for a well-made, easy-to-use kitchen tool. The molded plastic will surely last many years, as long as you treat it gently (no dishwashers) and wash it out after every use.
Competition: Looks aren’t everything, but they are something
Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin: If you’re familiar with OXO, then you know that the brand has a pretty distinct aesthetic. The soft-touch rubber handles and round-edged, shiny plastic everything would look very much at home in a Danish space station, but will absolutely clash with your Le Creuset collection. We loved the OXO compost bin for being so easy to use and clean, but since a compost bin is going to live on the counter full-time, maybe it could look less like a hotel ice bucket? Epica’s $45 stainless steel compost bin is minimalist, purportedly odor-proof, and has cool industrial appeal. It’s also a little larger at 1.3 gallons.
Alabama Sawyer Petite Noaway Countertop Compost Bin: Ok, so $150 for a compost bin the size of two grapefruits could be a touch over the top. Maybe. But in a former life, these beautiful walnut or magnolia wood bins were trees that fell naturally in the Birmingham, Alabama area. The wood was collected by a local master craftsman, and lovingly hand-hewn into functional, sustainable objets d’art. While composting is certainly a step in the right direction, the plastic OXO bin doesn’t exactly score high marks in the sustainability department, and isn’t anywhere as close to museum-ready as the Alabama Sawyer designs.
- Product Name Good Grips Compost Bin
- Product Brand OXO
- MPN 1596000
- Price $19.99
- Weight 1.25 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7.75 x 7.6 x 7.3 in.
- Color White/green, charcoal/sage
- Capacity 0.75 gal
- Warranty Guaranteed against defects in materials or workmanship