10 Best Compost Bins 2021

Compost bins can live indoors or outdoors; they can be big or small. They may look like a trash can or something that you draw bingo numbers from. They can use probiotic additives or be enhanced by worms, and many communities have compost dump sites such as farmers’ markets; some even have compulsory composting or city collection. Here’s what to consider when shopping, depending on your needs:

✔️ Towards: Composting worms, or vermicomposting, is extremely effective. Worms break down organic matter to live in nature: you simply bring the natural instincts of worms to a controlled environment. Worm composting is a great choice for those who compost indoors because it controls odors well. (This can also be done outdoors, if the climate is favorable for worms – around 55˚F to 77˚F for the common red wiggler worm.) A difference between traditional vermicomposting and vermicomposting is that composting worms doesn’t require flipping, so it’s a pretty convenient way to compost. Worms love food waste, so this is a good solution for those looking to reduce their kitchen waste.

✔️ Interior vs exterior: Think about what you will compost the most – and where you want to keep the bin. If you are focusing on yard and yard waste, you’ll want to keep your bin outside. But if you mainly compose leftover food, can you keep a small bin accessible in the kitchen? A smaller bin prevents odors as you will need to empty it regularly. An indoor counter or under-sink model is probably best for those who want to store food waste before taking it to a compost depot. But if you want to empty less frequently – or mix yard and food waste together – consider an outdoor bin.

✔️ Equipment: Compost bins are usually made of plastic, metal, or wood. If you want to keep your bin outdoors, it needs to be weatherproof. Metal is a good choice because it will withstand the seasons and fight pests, but it can be heavy. The plastic will be lighter and will work equally well indoors and outdoors, but extreme weather conditions could cause it to crack or warp over time. Wood can blend well with outdoor spaces, but it can harbor pests and rot if not properly cared for.

✔️ Tumbling vs stationary: Compost bins come in two general styles: tumbling and stationary. Turning and stirring your trash helps it break down faster, and drum bins make that task a breeze – they feature a side crank or the ability to spin a drum to help you mix your trash. All of the tumblers are high enough to rotate, but many are high enough to provide the added benefit of being harder for animals to overrun. Stationary bins are self-contained cans that require mixing by hand. That said, if you’re taking your leftovers to a drop-off point or city pickup, you won’t need to do as much compost maintenance, which makes stationary models a good choice. Stationary bins are also a good choice if you want to include worms in your composting.

✔️ Seal: Compost bins with tight fitting lids will help contain odors, which is essential for indoor bins, but is also beneficial with outdoor bins as it reduces the chances of attracting animals. A tight seal will also deter rodents or pests who are curious about the bin, even when the odor is minimized. But you want a bin that opens easily. Cup bins in particular need soft-opening lids so you don’t just spin the bin when you try to lift the lid.

✔️ Filters: Some indoor models rely on a sealed lid to prevent odors. But many include a filter. Look for removable filters that can be washed or replaced. Bonus if your version includes replacement filters with the purchase of the bin.

✔️ Bags: Many bins are designed to hold compost bags in place, but it should be noted that some compostable bags do not decompose in a home composting environment. They require the higher temperatures reached more commonly in large scale environments or municipal facilities. If you are composting at home, it is a good idea to avoid bags. If you want or need to use them, do your research to make sure yours will decompose under home composting conditions.

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