Compost Containers


Compost Containers

December 7, 2011

For many gardeners who diligently save and compost leaves and other discarded plant material, the idea of keeping food scraps hanging around in the kitchen is fairly unappealing. “There’s a false phobia of it being messy or smelly,” says Robert Reed of Recology, a waste-collection service that runs the composting program in San Francisco, where the practice became a citywide mandate in 2009. Certainly, decomposed food scraps, an essential component of high-quality compost, can get smelly and buggy if not properly handled. But these days, finding sturdy and stylish pails to ward off the negative aspects of composting is a blessedly easy task. Reed says the two most important factors are appropriate containment and regular emptying of the compost. Containment becomes an even more integral factor in avoiding stink and critters for city dwellers who live where curbside composting bins are not an option. Keep in mind too when looking for an indoor compost pail that limited space might mean having to keep the container out in the open—so the more aesthetically pleasing, the better. Though most pails come equipped with a charcoal filter to prevent odor, many users invest in biodegradable liner bags, which can be replaced and tied off to further protect against fruit fly invasions or noxious smells between emptyings. Still not convinced about keeping waste in your kitchen? “In reality, it’s the same garbage you’ve always produced,” stresses Reed. “It’s just learning how to handle it in a smarter, more earth-friendly way.” 

Above, left to right: 1.Blanco Salon’s compost system rests seamlessly in the countertop so users can conveniently scrape scraps directly into the stainless-steel pail. ($350;  2. Inspired by classic French garden planters, the cheerful Anduze pot has a removable plastic bin for easy disposal and cleaning. ($80; 3. NatureMill’s automatic composter churns out fresh compost every two weeks and has an optional cabinet kit that allows it to neatly blend into the kitchen. ($399;


This article was first published in Garden Design November/December 2011