The 8 BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment

The BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment - Almost Zero Waste

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How to choose the best compost bin for the apartment?

Apartment composting is an easy and effective way to reduce your food waste, plus, it can drastically reduce your contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

I share more about the benefits of apartment composting here, but now, we will focus on how to choose the best compost bin for your apartment.

We will explore the features of the containers and how to start composting in your apartment (3 different methods).

First, we will go through some casual bins that will collect your food scraps. Then, we will focus on other types of containers that can do all the compost work, from start to finish, even in a small apartment.

Here’s a quick preview of what we will cover below:

  1. What to look for, when choosing a compost bin?
  2. The 8 best compost bins for apartments
  3. Final tips

Alrighty, let’s begin.

The 8 BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment - Almost Zero Waste

What to look for, when choosing a compost bin for my apartment?

  1. Simplicity – you want to find a compost bin that’s easy to use, easy to clean, and with a few parts.
  2. Solid – It’s essential to think of the material of the bin. You want to get a container that won’t break easily.
  3. Filter – A lot of people think that having a compost bin at home will be smelly. However, that’s not the case. You can easily prevent that by getting a carbon filter, which will ensure the bin won’t emit any unpleasant smell.
  4. Size – Get something that is not too small or too big and consider what will work best for you. For example, the vermicomposter and bokashi composter are a bit bigger & will also hold more of your kitchen scraps. The countertop composter bins will be smaller, between 1 and 1.5 gallons.
The 8 BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment - Almost Zero Waste

8 Great Compost Bins For An Apartment:

The first 4 options are ideal only for collecting your food scraps. The last 4 choices are ideal if you want to turn your scraps into nutrient-rich soil.

1. Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin

The bin is simplified, stable, comes with a filter, and is made of stainless steel.

It does not have an additional container inside, like some other composter bins.

apartment compost bin

Fewer parts mean = less to clean and no leaking. Furthermore, it has a solid construction, and there are no weld parts developing rust.

The lid fits perfectly, and inside of it is an easily-replaced activated carbon filter. The thick activated charcoal filter absorbs the odors.

It has a durable steel handle, so it’s easy to carry out, and the size is ideal: it will fit on the counter, under the sink, or in the pantry. It holds several days of organic waste (around 1.3 gallons of food scraps).

2. EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin

This one is for anyone who is looking for an inner pail.

The material of the outer compost bin is ceramic and the inner bin is made of plastic.

apartment compost bin

Once you fill your bin, you can take the inner container and empty it. The ceramic body is dishwasher safe, but it’s probably better to wash the plastic liner and the lid by hand.

You should be more careful with the inner bucket since it’s made from plastic and you might crack it if you don’t take good care of it.

It also includes two replaceable natural charcoal filters that will trap and absorb any odors.

3. Under-Counter Compost Bin by YukChuk

The Under-Counter compost bin will be the ideal option for you if you are looking for a container that is:

  • hidden, attached inside a cupboard
  • non-smelling, without the need for any filters
  • free from fruit flies
apartment compost bin

The lid is easy to open and close, and the size of the container is 1.5 gallons, so a tiny bit bigger than the options above. A “downside” is that it’s made out of plastic, however, if you take good care of it, that won’t be a problem.

4. Polder Kitchen Composter

The design of the silicone bucket makes it user-friendly – plus, it doesn’t require any plastic bags inside.

It has an adjustable aerobic compost setting – you can rotate the lid to control airflow for managing odor and decomposition!

apartment compost bin

It is easy to clean, and it is dishwasher-friendly. The composter’s capacity is 1 gallon.

You can place it in the freezer if you wish to freeze your food scraps. The silicone is sturdy and can resist general freezer temperatures without affecting performance.

Just keep in mind that the frame is metal, so if you place it inside the freezer, it will be exposed to moisture. With that said, after some time, it is possible to occur some signs of rust, due to oxidation.

5. Hot Frog Living Composter

If you want to choose a composter, that will turn your scraps into nutrient-rich soil, then this worm composter might be the one for you!

Vermicomposters is great and it is easy if you know what you’re doing.

apartment compost bin

This type of composting is extremely efficient, especially with the Hot Frog Living Composter. There are e few very important aspects and features that this composter includes:

  • First off, there is a small spigot on the bottom that will allow you to collect the ”compost tea” which is great for your plants ( make sure to dilute the “worm tea” by mixing 1 part “tea” with 1 part water)
  • The top lid is tight-fitting, and the two trays provide a lot of space for the worms to do their job

So, how does it work?

The “base layer” is the place for any excess moisture or worm juice. In the bottom is the built-in drain so you can collect the “compost tea”.

On top of the layer is a filter, that prevents the worms from falling. After that, you have the first tray, where you are going to put the worms.

You need a good balance between carbon (BROWNs) and nitrogen (GREENs – your food scraps).

For carbon sources (browns), you can use – Dry leaves and shredded paper, also known as the “bedding” for the worms. The bedding is essential as it helps to control the odor and moisture.

You should fill the tray about half of the way and then you should place a bit of soil over the paper, and then the worms. You can also sprinkle some coffee grounds, as it’s very good for the worm’s stomachs.

The nitrogen source is your KITCHEN SCRAPS. After a few hours (or you can even leave it for a few days), start putting your food scraps.

Every time you put the scraps, make sure to spread a generous amount of bedding (the browns – shredded paper, dry leaves, etc.).

Once the first tray reaches the top, add the second tray and repeat the process – just place some bedding and food for the worms and they will make their way to the top tray.

As for the first tray, you want to leave a month, to be completely worm-free, and the worm castings (worm’s poop) will be ready to use!

Overall, the Worm Composter is very compact, but keep in mind that it will take more space than the options above. However, it is still great for smaller homes.

If you have a balcony, you can keep it there without worrying about killing the worms; the double-walled lid and base provide great insulation against temperature swings.

You can use the soil for your houseplants while recycling your kitchen scraps. Check an overview of the Worm Farm Composter from Laura from the Garden Answer Channel:

Worm Farm Composter 🐛👩‍🌾 Gardener's Supply

6. Worm Factory 360

That’s again the worm composting method, but there are some small differences.

It is a 3-tray composter; they offer a similar product with 4 or 5 trays.

This one also has a built-in drain for the “worm tea”.

apartment compost bin

Furthermore, it includes a great source of a digital 38-page instruction manual. It is a convenient step-by-step guide that will help you to manage your Worm Factory.

Overall, the Worm Factory is ideal even for beginners. It makes composting very easy since everything is explained and the quality of the composter is high.

The procedure is the same, as explained for the first worm composter, with the only difference that here, you will have one additional tray.

Related post: Vermicomposting: Step-by-step guide

7. Sunwood Life Bokashi Compost Kit

Bokashi means “fermented organic matter” in Japanese, and it is another great composting method.

It will ferment your kitchen waste and it will transform it into organic fertilizer.

apartment compost bin

I have a full tutorial on Bokashi Composting here, but let’s briefly introduce it. Bokashi composting uses wheat bran that helps the microorganisms to anaerobically ferment organic waste.

The Bokashi method works like this:

Step 1: Use enough bokashi bran – You need to place the food scraps in the bucket and cover it lightly with the bokashi bran.

Step 2: Press down the extra air with a plate/spatula – It is essential that every time you place the kitchen waste, you should put a handful of bran over it and then press everything down. Keep doing this until your bucket is full.

Step 3: Bury it – A significant aspect of this composting is that it is very fast, but also tricky. It takes around 2 weeks to fermentate, and once it’s completed, you can bury it directly into the soil.

The tricky part is that you need to have space, where you can bury the compost material. From that point, it will take from 2 to 4 weeks to fully integrate into the soil. The time depends on your local soil’s biological activity and local climate.

A benefit of this composting is that there is almost no odor and no insects since it is a closed system. It can also break down dairy products, meat, and fish.

Related post: Detailed Bokashi Compost Guide

8. FoodCycler by Vitamix

The FoodCycler is a more special composting “bin”. It breaks down food scraps and cuts down the volume of food waste by up to 90%.

It creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer in just 4-8 hours, which you can then add to your soil!

The BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment - Almost Zero Waste

It works like this:

After you collect your food scraps, you have to place them in the removable bucket and then put them in the FoodCycler. The machine will heat the food scraps, and then grind them. In the end, it will dehydrate them, and turn them into nutrient-rich fertilizer. Pretty cool, right?

The FoodCycler comes with carbon filters that eliminate odors, and you can run multiple cycles per day. When using FoodCycler, it is recommended to mix a variety of foods, rather than just a single food type, for best results.

It is quite pricey, compared to the other options, however, if you are serious about reducing your waste from food scraps in an extremely efficient & fast way, the FoodCycler might be a great investment.

You can watch this awesome review by Life Is No Yoke, in which they show how the FoodCycler works, and what are the pros and cons:

Vitamix Foodcycler FC-50 Review: What’s Inside!?

3. Final Tips

How to deal with fruit flies/gnats?

If you are struggling with fruit flies or gnats, here are some tips:

  • Ripe fruit + apple cider vinegar – In a jar, place a bit of vinegar and a chunk of very ripe fruit. Roll a funnel out of a piece of paper and stick it into the jar. The cone makes it difficult for them to get out. You can release them outside once you catch them. Also, you can recycle or compost the homemade funnel afterward.
  • Use peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass & lavender essential oil – fruit flies hate these. So, if you struggle with them, just sprinkle the filter of your compost bin with a few drops.

​Countertop composting: Where to take my food scraps once the container is full?

The countertop composting (the first 4 compost bins) is very easy but it requires a bit of research. You need to check your city/area and find out what options you have.

  • Pick-up service – There are companies in some cities that offer a pick-up service of your food scraps, a few times per month for $15 – $20.
  • Drop-off – Try to find a community space that collects food scraps. A few great places to start are your local farmer’s market, community composting programs, urban composting areas, etc. Take a look at ShareWaste.com and try to find something close to you.
The 8 BEST Compost Bins For An Apartment - Almost Zero Waste


I hope that this article gave you some insight it helped to find the best option and that you have a better idea of how composting works.

If you have any questions or you would like to add something that I’ve missed, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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