Compost Buckets

Published May 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

A carbon filter on the lid keeps the smells in but still allows oxygen to enter so decomposition can occur, cutting down on trips to the compost heap. These small buckets fit in a cabinet beneath the sink, and some are attractive enough to keep on the counter. We had test cooks use three kinds of compost buckets (lined with biodegradable bags) over several weeks, recording how easy they were to fill and empty, and if they let out any odors, as well as how often they needed to empty the bucket or toss the liner (we measured this by the number of recipes a cook could complete before having to empty the bucket).

All were easy to empty, all had carbon filters, and each passed daily sniff tests with flying colors. Then one day the lid popped off a bucket that had gotten knocked off the counter, and the stench cleared the kitchen. The virtue of our winner was suddenly clear: Its latching lid won’t pop open even when banged about.

A carbon filter on the lid keeps the smells in but still allows oxygen to enter so decomposition can occur, cutting down on trips to the compost heap. These small buckets fit in a cabinet beneath the sink, and some are attractive enough to keep on the counter. We had test cooks use three kinds of compost buckets (lined with biodegradable bags) over several weeks, recording how easy they were to fill and empty, and if they let out any odors, as well as how often they needed to empty the bucket or toss the liner (we measured this by the number of recipes a cook could complete before having to empty the bucket).

All were easy to empty, all had carbon filters, and each passed daily sniff tests with flying colors. Then one day the lid popped off a bucket that had gotten knocked off the counter, and the stench cleared the kitchen. The virtue of our winner was suddenly clear: Its latching lid won’t pop open even when banged about.

less
  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Exaco Trading Kitchen Compost Waste Collector

    This inexpensive green plastic pail is 8½ inches wide at the base and fits on the counter or in a cabinet under the sink. Food scraps broke down as expected, and odors were completely contained. We fit an average of 12 recipes’ worth of waste before having to empty the bucket. The hinged lid was easy to flick open and closed with a single hand, and the latch kept the lid secure. (A pack of three replacement filters is $7.95; the filter is supposed to be changed every three months.)

    $19.98

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Norpro Stainless-Steel Composter Keeper

    This stainless-steel pail is durable and cleans quickly and easily with a little soapy water. The charcoal filter on this unit can pop off if toppled over. The brushed steel finish does not show fingerprints. With less than half the capacity of our winner, this pail needed to be emptied after preparing three to six recipes.

    $38.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    BioBag Food Waste Bags

    BioBags are made from a 100-percent biodegradable and compostable material: Just take the whole bag and toss it on the compost heap. The bag fit perfectly in all the countertop compost bins we tested. Though not essential, these bags were convenient when it was time to empty the compost buckets.

    $5.99 for 25 bags

    BUY NOW Amazon
In My Favorites
Please Wait…
Remove Favorite
Add to custom collection