Stash Your Food Scraps in These Kitchen Countertop Compost Bins

Ready to reduce food waste by composting? Getting a countertop container for food waste is the first step and these pails are the best.

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oxo good grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
Photo: Courtesy of OXO

Composting our kitchen scraps saves loads from landfills and turns our food waste into black gold. Ask anyone who gardens and they'll tell you how much they love compost. If you're ready to get started on your journey to reduce food waste, a handy container in the kitchen is an essential tool in the composting process. Before you head off to your local compost-collection point, empty your scraps into a bin that is collected weekly by your city, or even walk to the bottom of your yard to add to your composter or pile, you'll need a smaller receptacle—that's ideally within reach as you work in the kitchen—to help you stay on track. It helps if that kitchen compost bin is easy on the eye, easy to clean, leak-proof, and as smell-free as possible. Ahead, we're sharing our best tips for kitchen compost-collecting as well as our favorite compost pails to keep on your own countertop.

Best Kitchen Countertop Compost Bins to Buy in 2023

If you're new to composting, it's important to note that these pails are not where the compost is actually made. Instead, they are temporary storage-receptacles for the daily scraps you generate that can be composted. If you drop off scraps at a community drop-off point, be sure to check if that location (often at a farmers' market or community center) will accept paper bags or biodegradable compost bin liners—this will make the process more seamless for you. While many brands market their pails as dishwasher-safe, in our experience handwashing extends the life of the pail. (Removable liners marked as dishwasher-safe can be run through the dishwasher, though.)

Best Steel: EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin with Charcoal Filter

EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Courtesy of Amazon

Elegant design and an airtight lid fitted with a replaceable charcoal filter (one filter is included) make EPICA's compost pail sleekly appealing as well as easy on sensitive noses. We recommend changing the filters every two months (you will need #93F filters).

Shop Now: EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin with Charcoal Filter, 1.3 Gallon, $29.95,

Best Budget Option: PackageFreeShop Compost Bin Container

package free compost bin container
Courtesy of Package Free

Minimalist design and a cinch to clean, the PackageFreeShop's durable, economical stainless steel kitchen compost bin comes with charcoal filters. We especially like the recyclable packaging material that holds this bin snug en route to our door.

Shop Now: PackageFreeShop Compost Bin Container, 1.3 Gallon, $17,

Easiest to Clean: Lee Valley Stainless Steel Compost Pail

lee valley Stainless-Steel Compost Pails
Courtesy of Lee Valley

Austere and sturdy, this well-made stainless steel pail could double as an ice bucket in a pinch. With a well-fitting lid and smooth interior, it is also very easy to clean.

Shop Now: Lee Valley Stainless Steel Compost Pail, 1.5 Gallon, $36.90,

Best Plastic: OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin

oxo good grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
Courtesy of OXO

Oxo's dependable and user-friendly tools are generally long-lived, well-made and budget-friendly. This kitchen compost bin comes in white or charcoal, with a removable lid (for thorough cleaning) that flips down easily to seal smells in and fruit flies out. The bin itself is simple to clean. We recommend a weekly wash and like to use Citra Solv Food ($28.99,, which has a wonderfully fresh lemony scent.

Shop Now: Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin, 0.75 Gallon, $20.99,

Best Vintage Look: Cooler Kitchen Kitchen Compost Bin

Cooler Kitchen 3 Liter Kitchen Compost Bin
Courtesy of Amazon

Cooler Kitchen's carbon-steel compost pail combines modern materials with vintage appeal. The removable polypropylene liner is dishwasher-safe, and the charcoal filters, should be replaced about every two months.

Shop Now: Cooler Kitchen Kitchen Compost Bin, 0.8 Gallon, $25.99,

Best DIY-Method: Large Lidded Plastic Bucket

3.5 Gallon White Plastic Bucket & Lid
Courtesy of Amazon

All you really need to collect kitchen scraps is a container with a lid. Plastic buckets designed to hold food can be up-cycled: Visit a neighborhood grocery store or a restaurant that receives bulk orders of foods like olives in brine. State your case and ask nicely, and you will walk home with a nifty lidded container. Line it with a compostable liner for easier cleaning, and wash every time you empty it.

Alternatively, lidded plastic buckets in various sizes are available from your local hardware store or online. Their lids usually fit tightly, so help with fruit fly control. Sure, it's not the most attractive on this list, but it's an easy DIY option.

Shop Now: White Plastic Lidded Bucket, 3.5 Gallon, $17.98,

Best Upcycled Options: Vintage Soup Tureens or Lidded Enamelware

Vintage 1920's White With Black Trim Porcelain Enamel Chamber Pot Slop Pail
Courtesy of Etsy

Etsy and your local beloved junk store are treasure troves of retro-creative kitchen-scrap collectors:

Vintage soup tureens are compost-pail sized. For some character-driven countertop action line your tureen with a small compostable bag, and the heavy lid will seal in smells.

Enamelware is also perfect for compostable scraps. Keep a hawk's eye on Etsy listings and scour your local vintage stores for new (yet old) arrivals like the one shown here.

Shop Now: Vintage 1920s White with Black Trim Porcelain Enamel Slop Bucket with Original Lid, $64.95,

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