The 8 Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

The 8 Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

When I first started composting, I was still living at home with my parents. I saved my food scraps in an upcycled Chinese food takeout container, then brought them to the farmers market every weekend. They’d take it from there and transform it into beautiful compost. Thing was, my mom started adding her food scraps to my little container – and that’s when I knew I’d need a bigger one. Enter, the search for countertop compost pails. I wanted one that would fit on our countertop, avoid getting smelly, and have a handle for easy transport. And I eventually found the perfect one for me! Now, I live with my husband in our own apartment (with our own compost pail), but it’s sweet to know my mom is still using that same compost pail I got us. The tradition lives on! Here are the best countertop compost pails on the market.

FYI, this is a guest post written by Sydney Montagna, a zero waste advocate and aspiring writer. Intro was written by Ariana Storniolo. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

The Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

The 8 Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

What can I use for a countertop compost bin?

Almost anything can be used as a countertop compost bin: buckets, takeout containers, ice cream containers, metal tins, coffee containers, and even small trash cans. It’s best to use whatever you already have on hand, and make sure it’s sealable, as well. 

Additionally, you can also improvise with salvaged plastic bags (like the ones you get at the grocery store, or bread bags). These I’d recommend storing in the freezer though and securing with a rubber band.

If you’re new to the world of composting or you’re hesitant to invest in a countertop compost bin, there’s so many innovative ways to get started! It’s best to remember the basics when it comes to composting, which is that the main objective is to turn organic matter into valuable fertilizer. This helps enrich our soil without harmful pesticides and keeps food waste out of landfills. 

Here are some helpful blog posts all about composting that are beginner-friendly:

Ariana Storniolo: The 8 Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

Do countertop composters work?

First off, there’s a difference between countertop compost pails, and a countertop composter. Let’s clear it up.

A countertop compost pail just stores compost scraps until they’re ready to be taken to the nearest compost facility (even if it’s your own backyard or garden!).

A countertop composter system will shred and dehydrate food scraps rather than allowing them to decompose naturally. Because of this, the end product cannot scientifically be classified as finished compost. Food scraps need to be processed over time with a balance of heat, moisture, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen.

However, there are a few great countertop compost machines that work great and some people swear by:

  • Lomi (Ariana’s personal favorite – it can break down many types of food scraps, as well as yard waste, compostable paper and Lomi-approved bioplastics).
  • Vitamix (grinds and dehydrates many types of food waste—including dairy and small bones—within eight hours).

Other methods of indoor composting you may like include:

  • Vermicomposting– Worms and microorganisms that help stabilize organic materials and turn them into fertilizer. If you don’t mind worms in your space, this is a great compost method. Though there are limitations, as worms won’t be able to break down certain food scraps.
  • Bokashi composting– More of a hands free, unique method because you can actually add meat and dairy to it, along with the rest of your food scraps. All you have to do is mash your scraps down and add the activator mix in. The activator mix is full of microbes that speed up the composting process.
  • Tumbler– Best if you have a roomy balcony. Great system for meat, bones, fats, cheeses and fish scraps. So if you’re a meat eater, this is definitely a good option for you. You have to turn it so the compost inside tumbles. Doing this churns and mixes up the greens and the browns, speeding up the compost process.
Ariana Storniolo: The 8 Best Countertop Compost Pails For Your Kitchen

Do countertop compost bins attract bugs?

Considering compost bins carry food scraps, wondering if bugs will start appearing in your kitchen once you start using a compost bin is a completely valid concern. 

If you’re worried about pests, there’s several methods you can follow to keep the at bay:

  1. Airtight lid– Make sure you’re using a compost bin with an airtight lid. Most bins hold a charcoal filter in the lid, which prevents odors from escaping. No odor = no bugs.
  1. Empty your bin more often– This is one of the most efficient ways to ensure your compost stays bug-free, especially during the Summer months when people prefer to keep their windows open. Empty bins give pests no reason to come and inspect.
  1. Add more brown– Ideally, there should be a 1:1 ratio of green and brown materials in compost. If your compost consists of mostly food scraps, try balancing it out by adding shredded egg cartons or ripped brown paper bags.

How often should you empty your countertop compost bin?

Generally, you can expect to empty your countertop compost bin every day to every 2-3 days. It should be cleaned and washed regularly to avoid foul odors and grime, though it really depends on the type of food scraps. Some countertop bins are dishwasher safe while some are hand wash only- either way, they’re relatively simple to clean as long as you keep up with emptying them.

Ariana’s pro tip: I usually empty my countertop compost pail once a week (on Saturday typically). To clean it, I pour some Castille soap inside the pail and fill it with water. I let it sit for a minute, then dump the water. This usually is enough, but if I see anything sticking to it, I’ll hand wash it with my trusty wooden dish brush and soap bar. I always remove the filter on top before I hand wash the lid too.

How do you keep countertop compost from smelling?

Considering the fact you’re literally keeping your unused food scraps on top of your countertop, it’s not farfetched to worry about them stinking up your kitchen. Thankfully, there’s a variety of countertop compost bins to choose from that implement filters for odor-free compost! 

The best filter for your compost would have to be activated charcoal filters – but you have to make sure you get the right one that fits your specific lid. They’re usually placed right into the lid of your compost pail and they come in an array of different sizes. Charcoal filters help neutralize composting odors and prevent them from leaving the bin.

Other compost bins have odor-free technology built in that utilize aerobic decomposition, which allows oxygen to slowly flow through your compost. But cleaning out your compost bin as often as you can is also a sure way to keep any type of unwanted odors away.

Full Circle Home Fresh Air

1. Full Circle- Fresh Air

  • Made from recycled plastic & partially recycled steel
  • Lets oxygen move through waste, slowing decomposition 
  • Odor-free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Chemical free, nontoxic

Image credit: @FullCircleHome

Full Circle Home Scrap Happy

2. Full Circle- Scrap Happy

  • Made with flexible silicone + recycled stainless steel
  • Can fit in your freezer for less odor + pests
  • Wire rim attaches to drawers or cabinets
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Holds .6 gallon of compost

Image credit: @FullCircleHome

Full Circle Home Breeze

3. Full Circle- Breeze

  • Made from recycled plastic
  • Patented Fresh Air technology allows aerobic decomposition
  • Designed to keep lid off the countertop
  • Includes three compostable bags
  • Mess-free + odor-free
  • Hand wash only

Image credit: @FullCircleHome


4. Bamboozle

  • Made from sustainable bamboo fiber
  • Lids holds a charcoal filter (2 included)
  • Can gold up to 1.25 gallons of compost
  • Moisture resistant + heat tolerant
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Compostable + recyclable at end of life

Image credit: @BamboozleHomewares


5. Oxo

  • Plastic compost bin with handle
  • Odor-free + pest-reducing
  • Holds up to 1.75 gallons of compost
  • Stay-open lid
  • Easy to clean with or without composting bags
  • Body is dishwasher safe, handwash all other parts

Image credit: @Oxo

Natural Home Ceramic

6. Natural Home – Ceramic

  • Made of nontoxic earthenware ceramic
  • Holds up to 1 gallon of compost
  • Chemical-free + lead-free
  • BPA free
  • Charcoal filter in lid
  • Dishwasher safe but hand washing recommended

Image credit: @NaturalHomeBrands

Natural Home Stainless Steel

7. Natural Home- Stainless Steel

  • *The one Ariana uses!*
  • Made from recycled stainless steel
  • Sizes include 1.3 gallon + 1.8 gallon
  • Charcoal filter in lid (1 included)
  • BPA free
Natural Home Molded Bamboo

8. Natural Home- Molded Bamboo

  • Made from 100% Molded Bamboo
  • Plastic-free + chemical-free
  • Charcoal filter in lid (1 included) 
  • Holds up to 1 gallon of compost
  • Nontoxic + BPA free

Image credit: @NaturalHomeBrands

So, what do you think of these countertop compost pails? Let me know which you’d try in the comments!

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Sydney Montagna

Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic-free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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