The Best Bins to Help You Start Composting
When you want to take your eco-friendly lifestyle to the next level, learning how to compost is a great, surprisingly easy way to start.
If you don't have a garden or yard, kitchen compost bins can be a great way to limit the foul smells coming from your trash bin or create "compost tea" as an indoor plant fertilizer. You can also check to see if your local "green" bins accept compost and/or find a local compost center or community garden. If you do have the outdoor space, compost from larger bins can help your flowers, fruits, and vegetables get the nutrients they need.
You might ask "Don't food scraps break down in landfills?" Yes, but packed in with the rest of your trash, they release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. By composting you can reduce these emissions and lower your carbon footprint, according to the EPA.
Whether you're thinking big or small, here are the best compost bins to put your food waste to good use.
Best Low-Maintenance Kitchen Compost Bin
We love this compost bin for your everyday kitchen scraps. This dishwasher safe bin can hold 1.5 gallons of food waste and comes in three color schemes. The small holes in the lid effectively aerate your compost. You might think you want an airtight seal to keep out fruit flies or keep in the smell, but that actually concentrates the odor. We haven't found an "airtight" bin without a weak spot these flies can enter through.
Want an even lower maintenance bin? Full Circle also makes this scrap bucket that you can hook on cabinet doors and keep in the freezer.
Best Kitchen Compost Bin to Keep Odors at Bay
If you want extra odor protection, go for a bin with a charcoal filter. We love this cute one from Chef'n with a sprout lid handle to remind you why you're composting. It's also dishwasher safe which makes cleaning it less of a chore. If you're looking for something less cutesy to match your stainless steel appliances, we also like this Epica Compost Bin.
Note that while this will help keep odors at bay, fruit flies can breed in the filter's pores, so the filters should be changed and/or rinsed with boiling water regularly.
Best Decor-Friendly Countertop Compost Bin
This wooden compost bin is for those of you who value streamlined aesthetics in your kitchen and don't want to deal with filter replacements. The wooden exterior comes in walnut or magnolia (the latter in a clear or white oil finish) and adds some warmth to the stainless steel, dishwasher safe, interior bin. The bin isn't completely airtight and the seller recommends emptying it out every 1–3 days.
Best Worm Composting Bin for Beginners
Composting with worms a.k.a. vermicomposting seems pretty intimidating if you've never composted before since you're essentially acquiring worm pets. Luckily, this living composter makes a gross process look sleek while also supplying low-maintenance results. With some soil, some worms, and the kitchen scraps of 2-3 people, you'll have compost in no time. You can take out composted soil to use in separate pots or use the worm "bin" as a planter.
Best Compost Tumbler for Hot Composting
If you can't get past the gross factor of using worms, you can hot compost. This is best done in a tumbler that you rotate periodically to aerate the waste and maintain the temperature.
We like that both versions of the Envirocycle Tumbler are easy to move around and rotate (no crank that rusts or gets hard to turn when the bin gets full). The base also collects compost tea which, depending on which plugs you use, can either drain the tea into the ground or keep it in the base for later use. You can get this bin in the safe, standard composter black or a vibrant pink.
Best Compost Bin for Cold Composting
From fall leaves to cut summer grass, natural waste from your yard can literally pile up. We love the Geobin because it keeps your yard and food waste tidy in a great simple cold composting solution. Cold composting is a slower process, but low-maintenance since it doesn't require worms or tumbling.
The Geobin is a ventilated plastic sheet that creates a baseless cylinder which holds up to 216 gallons of compost materials. You can increase or decrease the diameter by securing holes with "closure keys."
Best Worm Composting Bin
If you're not squeamish or just need a larger capacity vermicomposter, this Worm Factory Composter lets you easily compost all year. It has four sturdy trays, but can be expanded to use eight trays and comes in three colors. Each tray has a sieve-like bottom which allows the worms to move upwards. The bottom tray will eventually house compost and can be removed for use in your garden.
We particularly like that this composter has a spigot in the base so you can remove and use the compost tea. Some other worm trays also have spigots, but they often malfunction.
Best Compost Bin for Meat, Bones, and Dairy
Beginners should get their hands dirty with other compostable matter before composting meat, bones, and dairy. Composting these items is a smelly affair that needs careful monitoring, especially since these foods can harbor bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
If you're ready to tackle these foods, Bokashi Living makes it easy on you with their bokashi starter kit. Technically, this isn't a composting kit; it just ferments meat, bones, dairy, and cooked foods to the point where they can be safely added to soil or a larger compost bin. The kit comes with an airtight container as well as special compost mixes to keep the pH balance in check. The fermentation process requires a tight seal whereas regular compost needs some air flow.