If you want to live a greener life, there are many small steps you can take that don’t require much effort but can make a big difference over time.
One of these simple steps is investing in and using an eco-friendly kitchen compost bin. While this might sound dramatic, it’s an easy way to move into sustainable living and eventually change your whole life.
So how can you get started with composting today?
It all starts with the right compost bin. There are many different types and models to choose from on the market today, so let’s dive into what makes a good compost bin and some examples of our favorite products available today.
Different Types of Compost Bins
Not all compost bins actively compost, since some simply help you collect more food scraps to add to your outdoor composting system. Let’s take a look at the four main types of compost bins.
A Bokashi bin means “shading off” or graduation and is a method to begin fermenting food. In a Bokashi bin, you throw food scraps and separately purchased microorganisms into a container. These organisms get to work by decomposing your waste, but it doesn’t completely convert your leftovers into compost.
On the other hand, Vermicompost bins use worms to break down scraps into compost or tea that can be given to your plants for extra nutrition.
Traditional Composting System
A traditional composting system includes a metal or plastic bin that uses both moisture and aeration to decompose organic matter over time. This essentially speeds up what already happens in nature by carefully controlling the environment.
We benefit from a lot of high-tech gadgets these days, and compost bins are no exception. These electric compost bins use electricity to speed up the composting process to break down food scraps as quickly as overnight. This works similarly to Bokashi in that you can bury the waste from these bins directly into your garden or add them to a traditional compost bin afterward.
How to Choose the Right Eco-Friendly Compost Bin
If you’re new to the world of composting, even if you’ve been briefed on the multiple different types of bins available, it can still be hard to know which system will work best for you.
To figure that out, there are three questions you’ll need to ask yourself. Guide yourself through these questions to determine what kind of bin you can maintain for the long haul.
How much space do you have?
A full-sized compost bin can take up a lot of room, so be sure you have enough space in your yard. If not, you may be able to find a local composting program that allows you to place compost on the curb for it to be added to a larger compost elsewhere.
If you live in an apartment or another small space, you can still make it work with a different type of compost bin. You can find smaller models that can fit on the counter, under the sink, or in a closet. Some people even utilize the freezer to keep any unwanted smells at bay while collecting scraps.
What’s your budget? The more high-tech and advanced options will come with a higher price tag, but you don’t need to be made of money to afford a quality composting bin.
Vermicompost bins can be as simple as a large bucket and enough worms and scraps to get the job done. Just enter the search process with a realistic mindset about your compost bin budget.
How much effort are you willing to put in? Some compost bins don’t require more than one daily deposit into the bin. Others will require much more work on your end, so it’s critical to be very honest with yourself about what work you are willing or not willing to do.
Keep in mind that working closely with compost can involve unpleasant smells, worms, bacteria, and dirt. It’s decomposing natural material, so it won’t necessarily be pretty.
If you have a busy life and aren’t willing to get too close to the composting process, you may need to invest more in a high-tech device that can do the work for you. On the other hand, if you’re willing to do more manual work for it, you can save a lot of money in the bin you buy.
Do you happen to eat a lot of dairy and meat? Decomposing these substances takes much longer and requires a more complete system that is as close to airtight as you can get. This can also increase the cost and effort of your composting system.
Remember that leakage and spills are always a possibility, so if you’re composting inside, those accidents will require a bit of clean-up from you. If you’re not willing to do that kind of work, finding an outdoor spot where you can compost your scraps probably makes more sense for your lifestyle.
5 Best Eco-Friendly Compost Bins
Bokashi Living Compost Bin Starter Kit
The main benefit of using the Bokashi method of composting is that you’re able to break down items such as meat and dairy more quickly than you can with almost any other way. If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s easy to keep a Bokashi bin in your kitchen so you can throw food scraps in as you create them.
If you’re new to composting or Bokashi in general, this starter kit includes everything you need to get going right away. It contains two different buckets, which help you collect in one and compost in the other. It also includes Bokashi bran, which is the dried microorganisms that you add to aid in the composting process, and a bokashi composting guide to get you started.
The Urban Composter was born back in 2011 while the founder was in college and trying to compost, but finding the Bokashi method difficult. He improved the overall system to be placed indoors where it won’t attract pests and can be used more efficiently.
If you’re looking for a “complete” system that falls somewhere between a full-on composter and a simple bucket, this is it. While it does use the Bokashi method, it works on its own using the oxygen-free environment to ferment the food along with an added compost accelerator, which helps break everything down.
To use the Urban Composter, you simply line the bottom with a sheet of paper and then add your scraps. You follow that up with a spray of the compost accelerator and can start collecting compost liquid in just a few days (as opposed to the standard six weeks).
Worm Factory 360
Worm Factory 360 is one of the most popular models available today, especially in the world of vermicomposting. This company has been creating composting bins for over a decade. Today, all of their products come with a 5-year warranty.
The bins themselves are made out of recycled materials, making this option entirely eco-friendly (and our pick for the most eco-friendly compost bin).
If it’s important to you for the bin to be odorless, this could be an excellent option to use. It is a vermicomposter that only needs a simple set up and very low maintenance after that. If you have time to dedicate about 15 minutes each week to your composting, this could be the perfect fit for you.
There are several trays within this bin, and the set up allows for the worms to migrate upward to new food sources as they come. The first tray takes about three months to get a full compost, but it can speed up to as little as one month as the worms continue to mature.
Taking the award for cutest composter is the Envirocycle Mini Composter. This bin is one of only two products from the U.S.-based Envirocycle, as they stick to what they do best.
If you’re unsure about composting as a whole, you’ll love the dedicated customer service you get with every Envirocycle product. If you have any questions along the way, they’re more than happy to help.
This compost bin is attractively designed and works best outdoors, like in a yard, on a porch, or perched on a balcony.
The system comes fully assembled. All you need to do is aim for about 75% of green materials and about 25% of brown materials. Turn the drum three times each day, and that’s it!
Finally, the Vitamix FoodCycler is one of the more advanced options on this list. If you want to balance the price with the ease of use, the FoodCycler offers the best of both worlds.
Only using 1kWh when in use, this composter is incredibly efficient and only produces 4% of the greenhouse gases that are typically emitted at a landfill. It’s even more environmentally friendly than a typical backyard composter, producing about half the CO2.
Add both cooked and uncooked food scraps as well as meat and dairy and let the FoodCycler use its unique process of dehydration rather than fermentation. This creates odorless compost that you can easily add to your garden after about a month of use.
Going green doesn’t have to mean making massive lifestyle changes. Often, it means just making minor changes over time that all add up to create a significant impact. One of the small changes you can make is switching to a compost bin instead of throwing away all of your food waste, where it will just sit in a landfill and create increased carbon emissions.
When checking out these eco-friendly compost bins mentioned above, keep your budget, space, and effort in mind when making your purchase, and you’ll never go back to your old food waste habits.