Planning on going green in 2021? Investing in a kitchen-top compost bin is a great place to start, whether it’s a food-caddy-style model, designed to hold food scraps which can then be emptied into a larger compost bin in the garden, or one that kickstarts the composting process straight away.
Either way, mother nature will thank you for the fresh supplies of garden-enhancing goop.
It’s important to note that the term “compost bin” can refer to both of these styles, with the latter ones using additional ingredients such as bokashi bran, which reduces the time it takes to transform waste into the compost you can spread on your garden.
With both options, however, you’ll want a bin with an airtight seal – and ideally a carbon filter, usually fitted into the lid – to prevent nasty odours.
This becomes even more important if you’ll be using kickstarting accelerants. The waste within these bins will create even more odour, but in return will also produce liquid fertiliser (a fragrant gunge you want on your camellias, not your carpet) in less time. In these cases, opt for a bin with a tap at the base, to allow you to drain the liquid.
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Hozelock bokashi composter
This is a brilliant compost bin in every way – it’s fantastic value, will gobble up 16 litres of food waste and comes with detailed instructions as well as a generous 1kg bag of bokashi bran, which will speed up the composting process, providing liquid fertilizer in five days and compost in 15.
It’s got a top-quality feel, with a fertiliser tap which is easy to use and cleverly positioned (it doesn’t protrude, so is unlikely to be knocked), and there are numerous added extras, including a levelling trowel, drain sieve and measuring cup. The latter came in especially useful when adding the sprinklings of bran we needed to layer throughout our food scraps. We also loved the tiny images of various foods on the exterior – a simple but handy reminder of the items which can be composted.
Typhoon white monochrome composter
This compost bin offers the best of both worlds – it’s small enough to keep on the worktop or under the kitchen sink but has the bonus of an internal bin, allowing food waste to be quickly and easily removed.
Anyone concerned about keeping compost bins like this in the kitchen will be reassured by the presence of two carbon filters, which did a brilliant job of absorbing any unwanted odours (we filled our bin with some seriously stinky stuff and didn’t smell a thing). We also love the design – a neutral, snow-white paint job livened up with a pretty black pattern at the base.
Eko food waste caddy
This generously sized bin is perfect for families – you’ll fit four litres of food waste into the internal bin, which has a removable internal rim – simply tuck your liner around the edge, and when it’s full, untuck the liner or slide out both the bin liner and the rim in one go. Its airtight design prevents any nasty smells escaping, and the plastic has an antibacterial coating which keeps germs and bacteria at bay.
We were seriously impressed by how easily the bin could be removed, and how bin liners could be tucked around the rim. They are minor details that make a huge difference when you’re dealing with food waste and are keen to minimise contact with potentially germ-covered surfaces.
Lakeland worktop compost bin
We loved the powder-coated steel exterior of this compost bin, which will take 3.5 litres of food waste. Available in cream or grey, it adds a touch of retro chic to kitchens, and its low, squat profile allowed it to be tucked neatly into the cramped corners of our test kitchen.
Like many kitchen-top compost bins, it’s got a pong-busting carbon filter, although this one is a cut above with its larger-than-average filter handily held in place by metal hooks attached to the lid. We loved the oversized metal handle, too.
Garantia urban composter
Although this is a composter designed for countertops, it’s not ideal for tiny kitchens. But for families with larger spaces, it’s perfect. You’ll fit 15 litres of waste into this bin, and the tap at the base makes it wonderfully easy to drain any fertiliser you produce. Eventually.
We’re adding that disclaimer because unlike bokashi composters – which rely on bran to kickstart fermentation and break down food in less time – composters like this one take a little longer. You’ll need to wait around four weeks, although the liquid fertilizer will be ready much sooner and if you’re not particularly patient, activators such as bokashi bran can still be added to speed up the process.
Oxo compost bin
It was the little things which won us over with this bin – the lip on the lid which made it easy to flip up with one hand, the way it can quickly be removed entirely to make it easier to empty and wash, and the contours on the bottom, which allowed us to grip it more securely (especially given that there’s no internal bin). It’s also the perfect size – small enough to tuck into corners or cupboards but large enough, with its 2.8 litre capacity, to take a decent amount of waste.
Addis compost caddy
This is a brilliant, three-litre compost bin which costs less than many other models, but comes packed with features that many composters don’t have. There’s an easily-removable inner bin and a detachable lid, and the airtight seal prevents any nasty niffs filling your kitchen. Rubber feet on the base – a seemingly minor detail but one many composters lack – help to keep the bin in place and protect delicate worktops.
Brabantia sinkside food waste caddy
Brabantia’s bin highlighted a major flaw with many similar products: narrow openings make it hard to transfer kitchen scraps from plates and bowls into bins without some serious spillage. Not so with this one – the extra-wide mouth made it easy to tip in large amounts of food waste.
There’s no internal bin but the removable lid made it easy to empty, and the extra-wide handle came in useful (but folded neatly out of the way when not required). Finally, in a world where colour options for this type of product extend to, well, grey, we also loved the option of a pretty mint hue. If you’re a Brabantia addict you can even colour-coordinate the bin with other products in the range.
The verdict: Kitchen compost bins
The Hozelock bokashi composter is our pick of the bunch, and not just because it allows us to start composting straight away. It also comes with a wide range of accessories, detailed instructions and images representing the items which can be composted, which proved surprisingly useful.
Second place goes to the Typhoon white monochrome composter, which, thanks to two carbon filters, proved that pretty composters don’t need to be pongy ones. A special mention goes to the Eko food waste caddy, with its generous proportions, removable bin and antibacterial coating.
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