It can be stinky, and an unpleasant surprise should you stumble on it unexpectedly, but kitchen compost is anything but trash. Kitchen composters typically house scraps from cooking, so they don't require too much maintenance if you have an outdoor compost or city-wide composting programs. Just store it, empty it, and clean it now and then. So how do you tie in this kitchen essential without distracting from the design of your kitchen? Take some tips from fellow compost-inclined minds and see what ideas they have to share.
Here is the skinny on the compost keeper types out there:
Bio Bags Compost Keeper: One of the most cost-effective items on the market, and easiest to keep clean, the Bio Bags designed MaxAir compost keeper is a great utility item. The great things about these compost keepers are their ventilation, price point, door latches (so you can hang it by a handle or two back latches underneath the sink), and there aren't any filters to replace. Did we mention it is also made from 100% post consumer content?The downsides are its less than beautiful design, and if you want everything to be compostable, you must fill these with compostable kitchen bags. Prices range from $8 - $15 dependent on retailer.
Ceramic, Stainless Steel, and Copper Compost Keepers: Now enter the more beautiful sister to the MaxAir. These composters are typically designed to fit several kitchen styles, so you can keep them right on the counter. They come with filters that must be replaced every so often, and the containers should be cleaned every few times the jar is emptied since there isn't an easy bag removal like the MaxAir. That said, they are very popular, durable, and only have the occasional investment of charcoal filters that run around $5. Prices range from $20 - $75 dependent on material and size.
Clay and Jar Keepers: Popping up across Etsy and other creative sites are clay pots and jars for kitchen compost. Some are designed to function with ease for both its constant top removal in the kitchen, as well as pouring it into a larger bucket for the outdoor compost. But buyer be ware. Not all handmade compost keepers are equal. Watch for ventilation, the ease to fill and empty the vessel, and the ease of cleaning. Some Etsy composters tend to be more experimental than functional so read up before purchasing these. Prices vary considerably as do the sizes.
And now for the good stuff...
DIY Keepers: Now who says you need a fancy composting system if you are just holding kitchen scraps for short periods of time? Using cookie jars that don't seal completely or other fun items that add flair to your kitchen can also work if they are emptied frequently enough. Other common items are plastic bins with holes poked in the top, cardboard food cylinders like oatmeal containers, or flour jars that have lost their seal.
(Images: BioBags USA, NorPro, Appleware Pottery)