10 Easy Pieces: Kitchen Compost Pails

The average American family throws away 20 pounds of food a month.  And by “average,” I mean me. This is the equivalent of stumbling upon a buried pirate’s chest full of jewels and gold doubloons–and then leaving it there to rot.

Last night I committed a crime in the kitchen: I scraped the dinner plates into the sink and hit the “on” switch on the disposal.  Past mistakes (I used to collect scraps in a mixing bowl on the countertop, where they attracted flies, looked ugly, and developed a rather distinctive scent by the time I transferred them to the compost bin in the backyard) have made me reluctant.  But really? That’s no excuse when there are so many stylish and odorless options. Here are ten countertop compost pails (which one should I buy)?

What do you do with your table scraps? Do you compost? Tell me about your technique in the comments section below:

Above: Photograph via Gardener’s Supply.

The things to look for in a countertop compost bucket are: a wide mouth (to make it easy to throw in scraps of all sizes); an tight-fitting lid (to trap odors inside), and a handle for easy transport to the backyard compost bin.

Above: A Stainless Steel Composter with a 1-gallon capacity is $39.95 from West Elm.

Above: A 1-gallon Brushed Stainless Steel Composter has a charcoal filter in the lid to absorb odors; it’s $39.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

Above: Spotted, via Little Red Farmhouse, a simple galvanized pail as compost bucket. A similar Galvanized Charcoal or Ash Can With Lid is 13 inches high; it’s $24.99 from

Above: A Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin with filter has a 1.3-gallon capacity and is $29.99 from Target.

Above: A 7-inch-high, 1-gallon Brushed Stainless Steel Compost Pail is dishwasher safe; it’s $29.95 from Gardener’s Supply.

Above: A Deluxe Sage Green Compost Bucket has a stainless steel lid and is $27.17 from Fruugo.

Above: A White Ceramic Compost Bin holds one gallon and is dishwasher safe. It has a vented lid and a charcoal filter and is $28 from Buy Green.

Above: A 12-inch-high Kitchen Compost Pail by Achla has a white enamel powder coat finish; $72.99 from Vintage Tub.

Above: At 10.5 inches high, a Ceramic Countertop Compost Pail has a 1-gallon capacity and is $49.99 from Nature Mill.

Above: An enamel Kitchen Compost Bin in Cream is £13.95, available seasonally from Marquis & Dawe.

For a built-in compost bin, see 5 Quick Fixes: In-Counter Compost Solutions.

N.B. This is an update of a post originally published May 9, 2013.

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