Composting is the act of breaking down biodegradable waste (think: food scraps, coffee grounds, newspaper, or gardening clippings) and turning it into fertilizer that can be used to fortify your soil and promote healthy plant growth. You can use the rich compost to feed plants in your garden just as easily as plants in the house. Since the soil created from composting is enriched with the minerals and nutrients of the produce that made it, the fertilizer acts as a sort of multivitamin for the soil. Additionally, since food scraps and yard waste account for more than 30 percent of what we throw away, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), composting these materials reduces the methane emissions that occur when they're sent to landfills, making it a win for the planet and a win when it comes to growing your own fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs.
With so many kinds of compost bins out there, it's important to find the right one to fit your needs, space, and the amount of waste you produce. As you begin the process of picking the best compost bin for you, consider the location for the bin (will you be keeping it outside or inside?), its capacity, its material, its ease of use, price point, and of course, its aesthetics.
The 6 best compost bins that do the work for you
This sleek indoor bin from Vitamix is the Rolls Royce of compost machines. It can process anything from daily vegetable scraps to meat bones and dairy, which many other bins can’t handle, it looks great, and it’s so compact that it won’t overrun your over-populated kitchen counter. The carbon filter lid also means that there will be no risk of unpleasant odors emanating from the corner.
This type of bin is meant to keep on the kitchen counter between trips to an outdoor composting bin. Don’t want to buy more plastic in your effort to reduce waste? Bamboozle’s minimalist bin is made of biodegradable bamboo fibers that will last for ages and have a low environmental impact when its days are over. With three beautiful shades to choose from, this petite powerhouse looks unassuming but features a breathable lid, odor-blocking carbon filter, and does the job well.
For those who have garden or a rooftop with room to spare, look no further for an easy compost bin that does the work for you (aside from a few turns of the drum). With over 6,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, this dual chamber, outdoor composter is great for heavy duty work. Together, the two chambers can hold up to 37 gallons of organic waste, and the spinning design makes mixing quick and easy to do every few days.
Another great option as a stopover for you compost materials before they make it to a larger bin, Simplehuman’s bin has clean lines of stainless steel. It’s easy to use, efficient, and perfectly counter-sized. That said, if your counter space is limited, the odor-minimizing stainless steel exterior also features a magnetic dock that allows it to hang on the side of a metal trash can. The plastic inner bucket is removable, making it easy to dump out scraps and clean as well.
Back outside, this compost bin is a classic shape and style. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, this plastic compost bin is great for outdoor use. The locking lid keeps pests out, while the slotted exterior allows optimal airflow making for a quicker rate of material breakdown than many bins. One reviewer touts this bin as the “best one they’ve bought in the past 15 years.”
For keeping compost materials in the kitchen as you create them, this easy-to-use 0.75-gallon, indoor bin is a great option for newcomers to the world of composting. It has a rotating handle for transportation and a soft-seal lid for easy access and minimal odor. It’s great for countertop or under sink storage of compost.
Learn about the environmental impact of what you eat:
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