Normally when we think of compost bins, we imagine large plastic containers in the farthest corner of the backyard. While that can still be true many people, especially city dwellers, also have a small compost bin in their kitchen. This can be used to intermediate storage before the big bin or for doing the complete job.
Here are some small, indoor-friendly compost bins for you to consider.
How To Compost (A Compressed Guide)
Composting might seem confusing, but it’s a simple process. You need to get the right foods (mostly fruits and vegetables), and then storage them and aerate them. That’s really it… except for the waiting.
The natural process of biodegradation does most of the work, though the aeration means manual turning, which is why the compost can’t just be thrown in a garbage pail, but rather requires more complex devices.
You could put all your compost in a garbage bin and occasionally go out in your yard and flip it over, mix things around with a shovel, and then put it back, but that would be a mess. Instead composter devices have been to turn themselves, keeping the mess inside until you have wonderful fresh dirt.
Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
If you are looking for a in-sink or near-sink compost bin then the Oxo Good Grips is a popular option. It’s sold in 0.75 -gallon and 1.75-gallon sizes, with price points of $20 and $30.
This is a sealed, plastic bin that is dishwasher-safe and small enough to sit on any countertop. The tight-fitting lid keeps smells inside, but there is no carbon odor filter. The inside will see some true decomposition so it can get a bit unpleasant in there.
Bins like this are best used as a staging area for food scraps before they are transferred to an outdoor composter or brought to a community compost program (usually found at a green market), like Grow NYC.
- 0.75 gal: 6.2 x 6.1 x 7.5 inches
- 1.75 gal: 7.75 x 7.3 x 7.6 inches
Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is a composting appliance, that is designed to turn food waste into usable “compost” into just 4 to 8 hours. Keep in mind, the result of the 8-hour cycle isn’t true compost but rather a sort of pre-compost composed of dried, ground-down food. This resulting material is dry, odorless, and small, so it can be used to improve soil with your healthy nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich food stuff, instead of putting this all right into the trash. You are essentially making your own fertilizer, not really your own compost.
This is a kitchen countertop device with a 1/2 gallon capacity, but its speed means the actual compost output will rival that of much larger compost bins. It basically gets the food you put in and then slowly spins/grinds it down for up to 8 hours while the liquid dries out of it and carbon filters remove the odor.
The appliance is quiet but not silent and it’s certainly not cheap. What results from a cycle isn’t compost soil, but you can put it in a bin and compost it. The result will be a speedy, low-odor composting process.
One major downside of these is that they have $25 filters that are recommended to last about 4 months, so there is a real upkeep cost to this composter.
The plus side of this device is that it can grind up chicken bones and plum pits and other tough things that normal composting can’t tackle.
- Size: 12.6 x 11 x 14.2 inches
- Capacity: 0.52 gallons
Envirocycle Mini Composter
The Envirocycle is a tumbler composter that looks like, and works like a true outdoor composter but it’s fully sealed making it ideal for the patio, porch, balcony, driveway, or along a walkway instead of the farther reaches of your property.
It’s available in two sizes — standard (35-gallon) and mini (17-gallon) — with the mini one being the better option for indoor composter. It’s sold in pink and black and sells for about $200.
The design of the Envirocycle is like a barrel on its side. There is a control base the barrel rolls in place and then there is a door in the barrel for placing your food waste inside. You just need to spin it a few times a week in order to aerate the contents. The company recommends 3 turns every 3 days at a minimum.
The device can work indoors as well, but typically you’d want the compost as much in an outside space as possible and in or around some sun in order to aid the process. The device is tough and made of BPA-free plastic.
- Weight: 13.8 pounds
- Size: 19 x 19 x 22 inches
- Capacity: 17 gallons
- Door size: 12 x 9 inches
How wet should my indoor compost be?
Indoor compost should be damp, but not wet. Wet a sponge and then fully squeeze it out — this is the ideal reference point for your compost's level of wetness. If your compost seem too wet, just add some of what composters call “brown matter” which includes shredded newspaper and egg carton pieces.