I need a compost bin to keep on my counter, what do you recommend? Or, is there a good countertop compost collector that will keep fruit flies away?
The questions take many forms, but I hear some version of this pretty often. I get it. Whether it's raining, it's dark, or dang it - after cooking dinner you're just tired (ME!), sometimes a trek to take out the compost just isn't on the agenda.
That's why we need a way to collect it indoors, temporarily.
How we'll collect and save those scraps boils down to one simple but very, VERY, important question.
How long will it be before you dump your kitchen scraps?
In my experience, neither fruit flies nor odor will develop in less than 48 hours.
To store kitchen scraps for more than two days without odor or fruit flies, you need a container with lid (ie: Tupperware) AND your refrigerator (or freezer). Label the container clearly, stick it in the fridge, add veggie scraps to it, and take it out when it's convenient.
Want something a little prettier in the fridge, here's a cute option. And if you chose it in a color different than your usual bakeware, you'll easily spot it.
I could link to a product with a charcoal filter, sealing lid, and cute compostable liners* or I could just be honest. And the honest to goodness truth is that even with the best system, you'll either end up with fruit flies or odor if scraps sit out for more than a couple days. Refrigerating them will prevent that.
*If you take your compost to a collection drop-off, like the ones hosted by my friends at Full Sun Composting in Tulsa, compostable bags will make transporting easy. Still, I recommend keeping scraps in a container in the fridge until you're ready to leave.
If you'll take scraps out at least every other day, check out these cute options.
Like I said above, I haven't experienced odors or fruit flies on scraps stored less than two days. That means charcoal filters and airtight lids aren't necessary. If the container you love has those things, just consider them a bonus.
But with that in mind, I've focused on aesthetics. Here are some stylish examples of countertop compost collectors:
This chic, minimalist version would complement stainless steel appliances.
If Farmhouse is your style, this too-cute model is for you and is available in other colors.
A hammered copper version would complement many styles, including mid-century (MCM), Spanish adobe, and eclectic design among others.
Under the counter is an option too. Check it out...
Truth: I don't use a countertop bin. I use a bowl.
I've tried countertop compost bins and it hasn't gone well. Why? When it's not staring at me, it's easy to overlook the need to empty it. And, trust me, I can overlook it.
When I'm cooking, there's always an extra bowl on the counter. As I cut and chop, the veggies I'll use go in one bowl. The scraps go into the extra bowl. You may have heard Rachel Ray call this a "garbage bowl."
Sometimes that extra bowl is taken out right after dinner. Usually, it is used to catch vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and other miscellaneous compostables for another day before it's taken out.
One last tip... if your outdoor compost bin is getting a little dry, add some water to the bowl before dumping it. This way, when it's dumped, it moistens your compost AND rinses your bowl at the same time.
How's that for some multitasking magic!?!