Not all of us are lucky enough to have a yard where we can create a compost heap. Many people live in apartments or share their homes with individuals who'd prefer not to have outdoor composting. But you can still compost in this situation. All you need to do is invest in an indoor compost bin.
Indoor compost bins are exactly what they sound like: they are containers that allow you to create compost inside. There are several considerations to take into account when choosing a model, such as the compactness, the smell, and how the compost degrades over time.
We've taken a look at some excellent options to get you started. Plus, we've answered a few questions about how to get started with indoor composting in the first place.
Top 5: Best Indoor Compost Bins
This aesthetically appealing compost bin is our top recommendation because of its ease of use. You can purchase it in a natural cream color or in black. Both of the bins will match the majority of kitchen decor. They look like a natural part of the kitchen.
The product is crafted entirely from bamboo fibers. These durable materials are biodegradable, which makes this an environmentally friendly choice. They are also safe for use in the dishwasher, so you can easily clean the product when need be.
Every bin comes in individual packaging with craft paper boxes. You can keep the box for creative endeavors or holding other items. Replacement filters are available through the manufacturer for when the original carbon filter wears down.
The carbon and charcoal filters can be found above the lid of the product. You can wash the filters in the dishwasher alongside the bamboo container. Each filter will last around two months prior to needing a replacement.
The company uses sustainable harvest methods, taking only the excess of the quickly-growing bamboo. They make sure not to damage the landscape or soil around the bamboo so that the earth can still support the plants.
In addition to being safe for dishwasher use, bamboo is tolerant of heat, resistant to moisture, and strong enough to last for years. This product is built with the intention of everyday use. Once you are finished using it, you can let it break down in the ground instead of taking up space in a landfill.
This offering from BelleMark is one of the best compost bins on the market. There are multiple features that make it a great addition to a minimalist or modern kitchen. It has odor protection features and a rustproof stainless steel component. The acacia wood box looks sleek and expensive on the kitchen counter.
The bin is capable of holding up to 0.8 gallons of food-grade waste. The stainless steel lid locks securely onto the box, preventing smells from escaping. It also seals well enough that flies and other pests can't cause trouble in your compost.
If you're looking for a piece that works as an accent item in both modern and rustic kitchens, this is a great place to start. It also makes a good housewarming gift. The exterior of the box is made from acacia wood, a solid material that resists stains. It won't rot or degrade.
The bin is also safe for use in the dishwasher. You don't have to do anything fancy to clean it. You simply remove the bin from the wood box, rinse it in the sink, and then place it in the dishwasher to take care of the rest of it.
The manufacturer is deeply invested in customer satisfaction. If you receive your bin and aren't happy with it, they will offer a free refund or replacement.
Best Soil Test Kits
This is another option that will appeal to people with a certain aesthetic. If you like quaint, rustic, rural, and farm decor, you'll appreciate this bin. It looks like a farmer's pail, with a handle that makes it easy to empty. The 1.3 gallon capacity is also good for homes that create a lot of waste.
Granrosi has taken care to create an odorless compost storage bin. Like the top recommendation on our list, the model features a charcoal filter that naturally blocks the smell of rotting food. Each pail comes with a pre-installed filter along with two replacements.
The filters have a lifespan of around four months before needing to be replaced. You can get replacements from the manufacturer. It's important to replace them in a timely manner, as wearing them out can lead to odor leakage.
The metal construction is designed for lasting use. It has been coated with a rust free sealant, so you don't have to worry about it oxidizing over time. You can use it over and over again for years without running into any trouble.
Since the container is designed with a rustic and vintage aesthetic, it doesn't have to be stowed below the sink. It can simply be held on the kitchen counter with other containers and appliances.
Cleaning the container is relatively simple as well. After you empty your gathered compost into your outdoor compost pile, you can use warm and soapy water to wash the interior. Wipe the lid down using a damp cloth when you're finished using it.
If you want a composter that actually turns your organic materials into usable soil without needing to go outside, this is our top pick. It's a great choice for those who don't have an outdoor compost bin or any means of installing one.
This is also one of the larger composters on the list. It is capable of holding up to five gallons of waste at a time. That means that you will have an enormous amount of broken-down materials to use in your garden.
Bokashi is a composting method that relies on fermentation. As the materials ferment, they also begin to dissolve. Once the fermentation process is over, you can bury the materials in soil. They will disappear over time, leaving behind the dense nutrients that were in the food waste. It's an excellent option for gardens.
The kit comes with the five gallon container and a bokashi starter. You have everything you need to get started, even if you've never composted before. Everything is ready to use right out of the box. You don't have to do any complicated assembly.
This container is not just a bin that holds food scraps like a trash can. It directly allows for the compost process to take place.
Another beneficial aspect of the kit is that it has very little odor. There are beneficial microbes in the bokashi starter materials that prevent odors from permeating. In addition, the airtight lid keeps smells in and ensures that the fermentation process goes smoothly.
You can even store oil, dairy, and meat in the container without getting the scent of spoiled food. You also don't have to worry about flies or other pests congregating around the bin.
Even if you have an outdoor composter, you might want to invest in an indoor composter for the winter. If you live in a place that has cold weather and snow, you probably don't want to go out to the compost pile every time your small bin fills up. A self-sustaining compost system indoors saves you the trip.
You can also make compost tea, which is a great way to give your plants nutrients. Compost tea is liquid that is filled with the dense nutrients from the organic waste in the bin. It's ideal for plants. Making it outside can be difficult, but this container has a spigot that easily releases compost tea into a cup whenever you want it.
All of the buckets are crafted using BPA-free plastics, with 75 percent of the materials coming from recycled bottles of soda. The company will also give you replacement parts for your bin if any piece of it breaks down. This allows it to keep working for you for as long as possible.
Seed Starting Mixes
This compost bin is built for use on kitchen countertops. It has a 1.3 gallon capacity and is shaped like a pail. You can use the handle to bring it outside and add to your existing compost pile. Also included in the package is an extra charcoal filter.
The filtration system traps odors before they can escape the bin. You don't have to worry that the smell of rotting food will enter your home. The scraps will build up over time, until you're ready to bring them out.
The sleek metal design is compact enough to be placed on the kitchen counter. This isn't a bin that you have to hide. It can be placed in any location that you need it.
Washing the bin is also simple. Though it isn't built for use in the dishwasher, it can be cleaned with a rag and soapy water. The charcoal filter can also be cleaned. All you need to do is soak it in soapy water and then rinse it.
This design is very similar to the rustic farmhouse pail. They have similar carrying capacities, handles, and durable materials. But this has a more futuristic sci-fi appearance, while the other had a more vintage rustic appearance.
The right indoor compost bin for you depends on your needs. There are a variety of ways to turn your waste into usable material for your garden. Some bins complete the entire compost process indoors, while others simply store material until you can bring it to an outdoor pile.
Our top recommendation is the Bamboozle food compost bin. This bin can sit on your counter and turn your food waste into compost over time. It's an aesthetically pleasing design that will match the majority of interior decor. In addition, the materials are dishwasher safe, so it's easy to clean and maintain.
Another solid recommendation is the BelleMark bin. This compost bin is perfect for people who like a mix of modern and rustic aesthetic. It features a wooden exterior with a sleek stainless steel bin. The bin can be easily removed and cleaned, and it also seals to prevent odors.
If you want a product that takes care of the entire compost process indoors, the best option is the SCD Probiotics composter. This five gallon bin will ferment your waste so that you can release the nutrients into your garden. You can also harvest compost tea from a spigot whenever you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
The exact cleaning instructions will vary depending on the model. Some bins are small enough that they can be placed in the dishwasher. Always make sure that your bin is dishwasher safe before doing this, since not all materials can be used in the dishwasher.
Larger composters might be cleaned using warm water and soap. Because the interior tends to be metal, you should be able to rinse the majority of the gunk out. A good compost bin won't have any issues with porous materials or lingering odors.
If you are having trouble with odor, you can use odor lifting powder to dissolve the bacteria causing it.
There are several considerations that will make it much easier to choose a bin. Once you know exactly what you're looking for, it's easy to rule out the models that don't fit your needs.
Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself as you get started:
Once you have a sense of where you're putting the bin, what's going in it, what your goals are for the compost, and how invested you are in the project, your options become a lot easier to evaluate.
When you purchase a compost bin, you are making an investment. Composting is a way to recycle the organic material from your home so that it helps your household instead of rotting in a landfill. There are a lot of different ways that it can accomplish this.
You'll need to consider how big the bin is going to be. A big part of this depends on where it will be stored. There are some bins that are designed to fit under the sink in your kitchen, since they are small and compact. With taller and broader models, you'll need to clear space in your kitchen or pantry.
Another thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to have a self-sustaining bin, or if you want to bring your bin out and dump it in a compost heap.
Generally with the latter, you'll want a bin that you can easily take out with your trash and recycling. With the former, you'll need to know how to use the compost around the house.
These considerations will vary depending on where you live. If you're in an apartment complex with a large compost pile, it's easier to get rid of your household compost. If you need to keep the bin out of the way due to limited space, one that fits with the kitchen sink is a good idea.
Some composting setups use worms. These tend to be more difficult to put together and cumbersome to maintain. But the worms will create soil that can be used in your garden, which is much more useful than rotting food. There are also compact electric composters, but these models don't create traditional materials.
Composting mostly follows the same basic principle: recycling organic materials so they don't rot in a dump. But the methods you use to do so can vary widely. Different ways of composting will create different materials. It's important to choose the method that will enrich your lifestyle.
The most basic form of composting, a compost pile, is usually a space in your backyard. This is a place where you toss organic waste and let it break down. The heat reaction during this process breaks the materials into new pieces.
These piles require a fair amount of maintenance. If you want your waste to break down into even pieces throughout, you'll need to turn it over with a shovel. Some people invest in compost tumblers, which allow you to turn the material more easily.
The drawback of a tumbler is that the compost pile won't be able to chew through as much material. In addition, if the materials are kept out of the heat, it's possible that they won't reach the heat level necessary for a chemical reaction.
Once the organic materials break down fully, you will typically have a material that you can mix into soil or spread through your garden. It is dense with organic nutrients that enrich plant growth.
But when you compost indoors, the methods are different. You don't use a heat reaction. You break down the materials through cold methods instead.
One method is bokashi. This causes the organic matter to ferment, which breaks its structure down. When you place the materials in your garden, they simply disappear as the pieces fall apart.
With worm composting, worms will eat through organic waste and then excrete soil. This soil is extremely dense in nutrients, much better for plants than non-worm compost, and easy to harvest. That said, it is made up of fine particles.
Some people prefer to have larger particles that they can use for mulch. If that's the case, you might not be satisfied by the materials produced with indoor composting. But gardeners all over the world use worm castings because of their effectiveness and helpfulness in plant growth.
The materials from bokashi are also great for fertilizing soil where you intend to plant. You can also use them to improve the nutrient density of clay soil.
Electric composters don't create average compost materials. Rather than breaking the materials down, these machines dehydrate the components and then chop them up. You can bury these pieces in your garden to let them decompose as time goes on.
When you use outdoor composting tools like burning piles, you need to do a fair amount of work. You have to bring the materials out to the pile, and then you need to turn them over repeatedly so that they all end up heated equally. A pile needs to be turned fully a minimum of once weekly.
However, indoor composting doesn't need to have that much labor involved. You can basically choose how much work you want to put in. Your job is to prepare the waste in your kitchen to be composted.
At minimum, this might just mean opening your compost bin and dropping the new waste in. If you do worm composting, you might chop your waste into fine particles so that the worms can more quickly digest it. The same is true of finely chopped materials fermenting with bokashi.
If you don't want to do extra work with indoor composting, you don't have to. Worms are capable of eating through organic matter like entire watermelons without being assisted. You just might have a slower piling up of usable material.
With bokashi, there is a little more work involved. The liquid that forms will need to be drained every so often. Once the bin becomes full, it needs to be left alone for several weeks so that the contents can complete the fermentation process. Then you'll have to bury the materials in a hole outside.
That said, you don't need to dig a deep hole. As long as the materials are mixed with some kind of soil, they will decompose and vanish. The nutrients are released into the surrounding soil to enrich the plants.
Worm composting systems will eventually require the harvest of the castings. However, you generally don't need to do that until you actually need them. They can be stored within the composter without issue.
Different bin designs will have different features. The right one for you will depend on the method you want to use, along with any additional household considerations.
The main two types of indoor composting use worms and fermentation. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
With worms, the main drawback is that many people prefer not to have worms in their house. But if you aren't repelled by that, worm composting is an incredibly fast way to break apart organic materials without an awful smell.
Fermentation is a process that takes longer. You have to fill your entire bin, and then you have to close it for several weeks so that the process can finish. This is a frustrating period of time for many gardeners, who might be better served by worms. In addition, some fermentation bins might smell like rotting food.
There are some bins that can break down non-plant organic materials. These include dairy, meat, and fish. You will still experience a strong smell as these materials break down, and bins that can handle them tend to be more expensive. It's a good option for people with a lot of animal waste, though.
The majority of designs have a single large bin that collects all of the compost. But some options have multiple different drawers. With fermentation, this can allow you to save more waste while one of the drawers is full and fermenting. With worm composting, this allows the worms to move through the materials and leave soil behind.
If you want your endgame materials to be separate from your initial compost materials, you'll want to get a bin with separate compartments.
There is a significant different between a compost collector and a composter. It's important that you know what you're looking for so you don't end up disappointed by your purchase.
Compost collectors are containers that hold scraps of food and organic material. When the container is full, it is brought outside and emptied into an outdoor compost system. It doesn't actually compost any of the material by itself.
People use compost collectors when they want to sort trash, recycling, and compost from each other. But they are not the same as an indoor composter. An indoor composter will take you through the compost process without you needing to move the scraps anywhere.
Composting indoors has two potential drawbacks: bad smells and leakage of the materials. A good bin and a well-maintained setup can mitigate the risks of both of these.
There are simple ways to prevent bad smells and leakage from occurring. Consider following these quick rules of thumb: