Your Guide to Choosing the Best Apartment Compost Bin
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America lags behind much of the world in waste disposal. While other countries set high expectations for sorting trash, it’s up to individual U.S. citizens to do the right thing, including separating recyclables and organic waste. What if you recently downsized from a home with a yard? What are the best apartment compost bins for food scraps and paper towels?
Fortunately, you have many to choose from. Today’s technologies eliminate odor and design innovative gadgets for small areas. Here’s your guide to choosing the best apartment compost bin.
Composting is the other half of the sustainable waste management equation. It complements recycling by keeping organic materials out of landfills. But why do things like banana peels and eggshells matter? Don’t they break down naturally?
Yes — if given the right conditions. The microbes that break down organic matter into usable soil require oxygen to do their work. However, anaerobic conditions mean methane-producing bacteria complete the job instead, releasing that toxic gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas heavier than carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.
Therefore, composting is your friend if you don’t want your orange peels and paper contributing to climate change. As a bonus, you get a lifetime supply of nutrient-rich soil perfect for container gardening.
Should You Buy a Compost Bin or DIY?
If you have a yard, it makes sense to DIY a compost bin. You can build one out of pallets you pickup for free at most hardware stores, saving you the $200 or more you’d spend on a larger model.
However, many apartment dwellers choose the lifestyle for easy maintenance and lack space for a bulky bin. Composting can get stinky — after all, you’re breaking down waste. You’re best off with one of today’s modern marvels that eliminates odor while speeding the breakdown process.
What Can You Compost?
Anything organic that isn’t chemically laden can go into your bin except for meat scraps and carnivorous animal waste. The latter two release bacteria as they break down, which can contaminate your soil. However, you can compost the following:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps, including cores, seeds, stems, rinds and those peas your 2-year-old refused to touch
- Unbleached coffee filters and plastic-free tea bags
- Used paper towels
- Lawn scraps — or the dead leaves trimmed from your houseplants
- Vegetarian animal bedding, for example, hamster cage wood chips
- All-natural fabrics like cotton — but watch for blends
- Paper and cardboard, if not glossy
When you combine composting and recycling, your traditional trash bin should stay considerably emptier. The only things landing in the rubbish are those your local sorting center won’t accept.
9 of the Best Apartment Compost Bins to Add to Your Pad
You’re ready to upgrade your waste management practices. What is the best apartment compost bin for you? Here are nine of our favorites and where to buy them.
This compost bin’s sleek metal and green design looks equally at home in your retro-style kitchen or Airstream camper. However, you aren’t confined to one look. iTouchless offers 12 different versions of its 1.6-gallon bin in various shapes, sizes and color configurations to match nearly any decor — and fit your available counter space.
It features an odor-controlling AbsorbX filter to keep your pad smelling pristine. You can pickup extras by choosing Amazon’s subscribe and save option to maintain an ongoing supply. It’s our number one choice for the best apartment compost bin.
If you have a need for speed, this countertop food cycler is the answer to your prayers. It reduces food scraps to a fraction of their original volume in seconds. Sprinkle it around your plant containers to enrich their soil frequently. The carbon filter lid eliminates odors, and a single button push sets it to run several cycles daily.
If you want to go green on a budget, you need the OXO Good Grips compost bin. This adorably simple pail comes in two fashion colors and sizes to suit your pad perfectly. If you enjoy a good upper body workout, turning your scraps daily will result in a more rapid decomposition process, but you can upgrade with a spinner if you get tired of doing the dirty work.
Are your kids fans of “Sesame Street?” This pint-sized compost bin might serve as a vacation home for Oscar the Grouch, adding a whimsical touch to your kitchen decor. If classic silver isn’t to your liking, opt for brass or white. At less than $30, it’s budget-friendly, but it lacks a spinner. You must turn your compost yourself or regularly deposit it in an outdoor bin — perhaps as a donation to a local community garden?
This bamboo model is the best apartment compost bin if you prefer simple, natural designs. You can stock up on replacement filters with your original purchase or add them to your subscribe and save plan. This version is a little larger than many others on this list with a 3-liter capacity, making it ideal if you cart your entire bin to the community garden for use in your plot.
Here’s a composter for folks with deeper pockets who need a larger capacity. This 3-liter model uses high-temperature drying, milling and cooling to convert food waste to pre-compost in six short hours. A few days of additional fermentation prepare your soil to enrich your houseplants. It’s also safe for families with small children, as the device won’t function when the safety door is unlocked.
There’s a bit of a learning curve when you first begin composting. Tossing your organic waste in the regular bin is natural until you get into the habit. SimpleHuman understands psychology and designed this model to attach to the side of your traditional or recycling cans to maintain a clear visual line to your target. The fingerprint-proof coating keeps the appliance from getting smeared.
Here’s an original compost bin design that can slide into a narrow space on your counter. At over 13 inches long but only six high, you can squeeze it between your breadbox and cabinetry to save space. Its wooden design makes it a natural complement to multiple decor styles, and the dishwasher-safe liner makes it a snap to clean.
Who says you can’t have any bugs in your apartment? Although worms are not insects, these creepy-crawly critters are among humankind’s best friends in the garden. They act like natural composters, and the Worm Nerd kit lets you bring their magic indoors, making it one of the best apartment compost bins. Their smallest model is less than ten inches long and nine wide, leaving plenty of counter space for less wriggly items.
The Best Apartment Compost Bin
Guess what? You don’t get off the responsible waste management hook simply because you live in a tiny pad. The best apartment compost bins let you sustainably dispose of organic matter.
Do your part to avoid methane emissions. Invest in one of these best apartment compost bins today and up your rubbish game.
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About the author
Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.