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5 Best Kitchen Compost Bins to Reduce Your Food Waste

Food
Peeling carrots and putting coffee grounds into kitchen countertop compost bin
Andia / Contributor / Getty Images

If you're a fan of experimenting in the kitchen but are conscious of the amount of food waste you produce, it may be worth looking into purchasing an indoor compost bin. Purchasing one of the best compost bins is a great way to reduce food waste, even in small spaces.

In this article, we'll go over what at-home composting is, how to do it and the best compost bins to aid you in the process.

How Home Composting Works

Compost is organic material that is added to soil to aid plant growth. Thirty percent of the waste we create comes from food scraps and yard waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If these materials were composted, less waste would end up in landfills — where food scraps sit, take up space and release methane into the atmosphere — each year.

To create compost, just three elements are needed.

  1. Browns: This is the base of the compost and it includes organic waste like dead leaves, branches, dirt and twigs.
  2. Greens: These are the items that mostly come from your kitchen, like fruit and vegetable scraps or coffee grounds, but it also includes grass clippings.
  3. Water: Adding the correct amount of water to your compost will help it to develop.

The general rule is your compost should have equal parts browns and greens. The brown elements add carbon, and the green materials add nitrogen. The water helps by providing moisture and breaking down the organic matter.

How to Compost in Your Home

If you're interested in composting but don't want a large heap of kitchen waste and other compost materials in your yard, you're not out of luck. There are a variety of ways to compost at home without having a compost pile sitting in your yard.

The best way to approach composting will depend on how much, how often and how sophisticated you want your compost to be. For example, if you have a sizable garden, you may consider a compost tumbler or a worm composting bin with a large capacity. If you're in an apartment or don't have enough outdoor space, a countertop compost bin may be a better choice.

Listed below are several top-rated countertop composters, and further down, we explain a few different compost methods. This information can help you create the right compost style for your home.

Best Indoor Composting Bins

Now that you have an overview of the process and methods of in-home composting, we have compiled a list of the best compost bins for indoor use.

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Best Overall: EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin

The EPICA Stainless Steel compost bin is easily cleaned and conveniently sized, as it's small enough to be kept indoors but big enough to hold several days' worth of kitchen scraps. The odors are concealed within the bin naturally, as it uses a replaceable activated charcoal filter. This makes it safe to keep on your kitchen counter without worrying about bad smells. It's also been featured in Forbes and Bon Appetit.

Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 12,400 Amazon ratings

Why Buy: The bin is made from non-rusting stainless steel. It's designed to be leak-free and the 1.3-gallon capacity is a perfect size for any home or apartment.

$23

Most Sustainable: Bamboozle Food Compost Bin

If you're looking for a kitchen compost bin that's made from more sustainable materials, you may be interested in the Bamboozle Food Compost Bin. This minimalist, dishwasher-safe bin is made with durable yet eco-friendly bamboo fiber that's harvested without damaging the natural landscape. This composter can hold over 1 gallon of food waste and has a charcoal filter in the lid that traps odors.

Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon ratings

Why Buy: Bamboozle's modern-looking compost bin is an item you can be proud to display on your countertop. It's made with biodegradable bamboo fibers that are coated in a nontoxic cornstarch-and-melamine resin that breaks down in about 22 years.

$50

Most Aesthetically Pleasing: Chef'n EcoCrock Compost Bin

The Chef'n EcoCrock long-lasting compost bin is odor-free and adorable, featuring a light green plant sprout on the lid. This bin can hold up to 0.75 gallons of waste and the lid is vented, allowing air to flow to the food scraps while locking in any foul odors with a charcoal filter. It has a dual bucket design, with a removable bucket for easy cleaning when the bin becomes full. The inner bucket is dishwasher safe on the top rack.

Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 2,000 Amazon ratings

Why Buy: The size of this bin, and its style, makes it a great fit for apartments or smaller kitchens. The non-stick material of the inner bin makes the scraps easily slide out without a mess. This bin includes two disposable charcoal filters.

$40

Best Bokashi Bin: All Seasons Indoor Composter

The All Seasons Bokashi bin is easy to use because it incorporates a spigot to easily access "compost tea" that can be immediately used as a powerful plant fertilizer. The bucket itself is made from high-quality BPA-free plastic, and the inner compost bin is made from 75% recycled plastic bottles. This bokashi composting kit can recycle all kinds of kitchen scraps — including dairy, meat, small bones and paper.

Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 450 Amazon ratings

Why Buy: This 5-gallon bin can recycle more kinds of food scraps so that almost none of your kitchen waste will end up in the landfill. The microbes that ferment the compost help contain any smell and keep away pests. Plus, the recycled and BPA-free plastic ensures that no harmful chemicals will seep into the compost.

$54

Best Food Cycler: Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50

A food cycler is an elevated kitchen compost bin — it takes your food scraps and turns them into usable fertilizer within a few hours. The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 breaks down food into a tenth of its original size, allowing you to mix it into your soil for a nutrient-rich fertilizer. The cycler is suitable for indoors because of its carbon filtration system.

Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 700 Amazon Ratings

Why Buy: The product, with a three-year warranty, processes your food scraps within four to eight hours. It has a 0.53-gallon capacity and can be stored and used anywhere there's a nearby power source. The cycler not only takes traditional compostable scraps, but it can also process bones. The cycler is simple and easy to use and can be cleaned in the dishwasher with the removal of the inner bucket.

$300

Best Options for Indoor Composting

There are many compost bins to choose from if you don't have a lot of space or are looking for apartment-friendly composting. Here are three approaches that are great for indoor composting.

Compost Bins

The simplest way to compost is with a compost bin. You can choose from many shapes and sizes depending on what your home can accommodate and the style of your home. Compost bins are made for storing food waste, which you can then put outside in a larger compost area. Your city or neighborhood may even have a community compost site. Worried about smells or fruit flies indoors? Don't be — compost bins are designed to seal tight and trap odors. Having a countertop compost bin allows you to toss food scraps right there in the kitchen rather than having to venture outside each time you need to compost something.

Food Cyclers

A food cycler takes your kitchen scraps and breaks them down to create a soil amendment. Many cycle for just a few hours and break down food almost entirely. You plug food cyclers into the wall, and the electric energy rapidly provides you with usable finished compost.

Food cyclers differ from traditional compost bins because they use electricity to speed the process of creating usable fertilizer, while traditional composting takes time, aeration and water to break down naturally. The food cycler's process of filtration, cooling, grinding and drying gives you easy access to a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Bokashi Composting

Bokashi, a Japanese word meaning "fermented organic matter," is a type of composting system that uses inoculated bran to help recycle kitchen scraps of all kinds — even meat, fish and eggshells.

Here's the process you'll need to follow if you opt for Bokashi composting:

  1. Mix food scraps and inoculated bran
  2. Press mixture into a Bokashi bucket
  3. Cover with another layer of bran
  4. Every other day, for 10 days, draw off leachate, or "compost tea," a liquid byproduct of anaerobic composting material

This is the only care needed throughout the Bokashi composting process. A Bokashi bucket includes a spigot where the leachate can come out.

Final Thoughts: Kitchen Compost Bins

Whether you invest in an indoor compost bin or have your own DIY system, finding ways to keep food scraps out of our landfills will help the environment and lead you to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Any of these indoor compost bins is a step in the right direction and will help make composting your food scraps seamless and easy.

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