Finally—a Compost Bin That’s Actually Attractive!

published Jul 17, 2020
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Home composting is intimidating. Even my most eco-minded friends are nervous to try composting at home because they’re afraid of pests or bad smells. I was too, but those worries were unfounded (more on that below). I’ll also confess that part of what was holding me back from backyard composting was that most compost bins are truly ugly. Black plastic is the material of choice for many bins, and the tumbler models are especially awkward-looking. I’d seen handsome untreated redwood bins in gardens designed by Lauri Kranz of Edible Gardens LA, but to recreate those would require me to hire a carpenter and spend a small fortune, since I’m not confident enough to DIY my own. So I was thrilled to find an actually attractive compost bin from Gardener’s Supply.

At $249, this compost bin is not exactly cheap, but it was a price I was willing to pay for a bin that could be delivered to my door and assembled solo in less than an hour. As an aside, I also love that Gardener’s Supply is an eco-conscious company that is 100 percent employee owned. Almost as soon as I had mine built, my tree-hugging (but also very fancy) architect friend stopped by and immediately asked me where I’d gotten it. When I showed her that its clever steel corners made it so easy to assemble, she was sold. I think she ordered hers as soon as she got home.

We’ve been using ours for a little over a year now, and it’s held up very well, with some natural aging to the wood, which is to be expected for something exposed to the elements. But fair warning: I did need to add extra screws to hold the top door on after multiple openings and closings (another reviewer comments that his bin needed to be reinforced, too). We’ve had no issues with pests: As it turns out, raccoons aren’t actually interested in vegetable scraps. If I notice the compost starting to get a little smelly when I dump my countertop bin, I know the compost needs aerating, and it’s never smelled so much that it was a bother.

If you’re just starting out with home composting, you’ll also need a small bin for your countertop and a garden fork and/or an aerator to turn the compost. On the countertop front, buy whatever pleases your eye and matches with your kitchen, but do know that ceramic is not the best choice because you’ll want to be able to bang the compost bucket against your larger outside bin as you empty it. We have a basic stainless steel model that works great and is easy to clean. 

This Gardener’s Supply cedar compost bin is probably overpriced for what it is, but I don’t mind, since it finally got me to take the plunge to start composting. I am happy to be sending less waste to the landfill—and I’m happy to be doing so in style.