There are countless models on the market. Which ones contain smells and are a breeze to use?
Published Aug. 23, 2022. Appears in Cook's Country TV Season 16: Jamaican Feast
While composting is a dirty job, a countertop compost bin allows you to neatly store food scraps until you can transfer them to a larger setup. Our favorite is the OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin - 1.75 Gal. It is a breeze to clean, contains odors, has a sturdy handle, and sports a convenient flip-open lid that can detach and also helps secure liner bags. We also liked the Exaco Trading Kitchen Compost Waste Collector, a spacious, no-frills model that is perfect for larger households. Our favorite stainless-steel model is the streamlined, easy-to-clean Package Free Compost Bin Container, a good choice for those who want to stay away from plastic entirely.
Things can get messy fast when you’re cooking—especially if you’re doing a lot of prep work like peeling carrots, stemming herbs, or dicing onions. Those scraps can clutter your workspace and all too often end up in the trash. In fact, Americans contribute billions of pounds of food to landfills every year. Composting those scraps can divert a lot of waste from landfills and cut down on the resulting methane emissions.
Of course, composting is not new. Farmers and gardeners have utilized decomposed organic matter to nourish their fields and crops for millennia. This age-old practice has become increasingly prevalent in the homes of non-farmers, too. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of food scraps and yard trimming composted increased by 6.4% from 2015 to 2018. Today, many cities across the nation are rolling out municipal composting programs.
Whether you have space for a backyard composter or you live in a city that offers curbside pickup, you need a countertop receptacle to collect your food scraps and to transport the scraps when the bin is full. Countertop compost bins are often more aesthetically pleasing than plastic utility buckets or plastic bags, and the best models strike the perfect balance between design and functionality. Some also offer helpful features that make storing scraps easier, including filters intended to contain smells. Most models can be used with or without biodegradable bags (we tested ours with 2.6 gallon SuperBio compostable bags, a popular brand that’s widely available via online retailers.) The types of bins we tested are perfect for storing food scraps, but are not meant for turning scraps into compost.
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Sawyer is an assistant digital editor for ATK Reviews. She enjoys baking, collecting Prince records, and all things Toni Morrison.