best kitchen compost bins in the uk

The Best Kitchen Compost Bins in the UK in 2020

There are plenty of kitchen compost bins and compost caddies available that fit in with the nicest designer kitchen and make collecting compost an easy and hygienic affair before it is moved on to your outside composter, wormery or, as a last resort, your local food waste collection.

Read on to find which ones are making the grade.

Best Kitchen Compost Bins and Caddies

Best Overall – 5 Liter Compost Bin with Charcoal Filter

5 Liter Kitchen Compost Bin with Charcoal Filter White

Our best overall kitchen compost bin had to tick all the boxes and do so at a good price, too but doesn’t necessarily have to come from a well known brand. This kitchen compost passed all criteria with flying colours.

It’s a functional, slightly retro looking design comprising of a metal outer bucket and metal lid and an inner black plastic bucket with its own handle sitting snug inside. The handle usually folds down by itself (think bucket handle) making it easy to remove the lid with one hand. Kitchen scraps can then be placed straight into the bin without having to navigate partly opened lids or handles. 

The inner bucket comes out easily to take the kitchen waste to the next station, be it your own compost, wormery or green waste collection bin of your council. A quick rinse and dry and the bucket is ready for the next load.

Pros and Cons

  • Design
    Functional and slightly retro yet neutral look, so fits in almost any kitchen
  • Ease of Use
    Opens and closes easily, keeps smells and fruit flies out thanks to the charcoal filter which allows for some ventilation, too.
  • Material/ Durability
    The outer bucket is made of painted carbon steel. The finish prevents rust, doesn’t take on any smells which is often the case with plastic buckets and is easy to wipe of and durable against bangs and scratches that inevitably occur with daily use. 
  • Choice of colours
    red, white, black
  • The charcoal filter inside the lid doesn’t fit tightly inside its place and needs to be wedged in to avoid air holes being exposed offering a way in and out for fruit flies.

Verdict

A great kitchen compost bin with a decent 5 ltr sized bucket, charcoal filter and good fitting lid at a reasonable price that does and looks well in any kitchen for many years.

Best Stainless Steel for Kitchen Countertop

Stainless steel has many advantages making it an often used material for kitchen appliances, from pots to cutlery to mixers. It’s extremely durable, doesn’t rust ever and doesn’t take on smells or stains regardless what you throw at it. 

And of course, it looks timeless with its brushed satin style finish.

The activated charcoal filter does a very good job of keeping smells in and flies out so you can keep filling the bucket until full. This compost bin has a similar capacity to our overall best bin above. However, it doesn’t come with an inner bucket.

Pros and Cons

  • Design – Ease of Use
    The lid fits snug but not tight so it’s easy to open and close without sealing it completely. The mouth of the bin is wide enough to fill and empty.
    Maintaining the charcoal filter for cleaning or exchanging is as easy as sliding it out and back into its socket.
    Opens and closes easily, keeps smells and fruit flies out thanks to the charcoal filter which allows for some ventilation, too.
  • Material/ Durability
    No rust stainless steel, extremely durable
  • There is no inner bucket.

Verdict

Great metal kitchen compost bin to have in your kitchen. The bin feels solid, has proven to be durable and comes at a great price. It does what it is supposed to do reliably well: makes it easy for you to fill it with veg and fruit waste, keeps it pleasantly contained and benefits from the charcoal filter until emptied.  

Best Ceramic Kitchen Compost Bin

Terracotta Ceramic Kitchen Composter

If neither stainless steel nor plastic bins (however stylish and practical they may be) are to your liking, how about a classic, down to earth look of a ceramic food waste caddy? These are made in England from English terracotta clay and every has its own pattern as the pot is dipped into two glazes which then melt and create unique design in the kiln. This part glaze adds a splash of colour to match your tiles or floor. 

The lid has holes for ventilation and a receptacle for a charcoal filter and offers the same protection from pests and odours as the other bins we were looking at.

Pros and Cons

  • Design – Perfect for traditional kitchens or for a slightly arty splash
  • Ease of Use – The lid is snug fitting to keep critters out but can still be easily opened with one hand.
    There is an inner ring to hold a compostable liner in place should you wish to use one.
  • Durability – Terracotta doesn’t age, is easy to clean and will not take on any smells.
  • Capacity – 3 ltr (diameter 18cm, height about 25cm) is less than most kitchen compost caddies but should be enough for a one or two person household.
  • Colour choices: white, sand, green, blue
  • Size – This might be too small for a household with more than 2 people.
  • Price – This quite pricey at almost double what you pay for other compost bins. What you get, though is a unique and special item which might make a nice present.

Verdict

An upmarket and slightly arty looking kitchen compost bin for a small household.

Best Large: Brabantia Sort and Go Food Waste Caddy

Brabantia Kitchen Compost Bin

Brabantia has a whole range of well thought through homeware at an affordable price. It offers more features and versatility in terms of placement than any other kitchen caddy we have reviewed although it does not come with a charcoal filter.

Every bin comes with a tight closing lid, a rim to hold bin liners (compostable ones are available) neatly in place and a bin holder bracket to fit on a wall or inside a kitchen cupboard door. 

Pros and Cons

  • Design – Plastic but stylish looking
  • Capacity – best use of space and still practical at 6ltr
  • Functionality – The stay open lid and wide opening makes tipping in vegetable and fruit scraps easy, no careful aiming required! The lid fits tight, there are no gaps for any critters to find their way in.
  • Price – Very well well priced compared to other bins
  • Colour choices: dark grey, lime green, white
  • No vents or odour filter means this caddy is best for a well organised household where routines are in place to move potentially smelly waste out of the house fairly swiftly and regularly. 

Verdict

A great, practical compost caddy with 6 ltr capacity making it suitable for a family household. 

This kitchen waste collector bin is part of their Sort&Go range which means you could also mix and match with other waste containers and bins for a matching look.  

Best Budget: Addis Eco Compost Caddy

The Eco Compost Caddy is made from old CD cases here in the UK which is a double win as it stands out for using recycled material and keeping the carbon footprint for transport low by being manufactured in the country. 4.5 ltr is a good size for a kitchen waste collector. We also like that you can buy biodegradable, compostable bin liners at a true bargain price as well. 

Pros and Cons

  • Material – made from recycled household plastic in the UK
  • Ease of use – plastic is sturdy, easy to wipe clean. The lid clips down tightly and so prevents flies and ants to find a way into the bin
  • Capacity – 4.5 ltr is a good size for a small family household
  • When clipped down properly needs two hands to open, so best to have this open and ready before you start your cooking and then just chuck things in as you go along.
  • There is some inconsistency in quality, some of the caddies don’t close properly which can be an invitation for fruit flies to find their way in, especially in warmer weather.
  • No venting holes or filters, so this can get smelly very quickly. Shouldn’t be a problem though if you  empty this  every other day or two at the most.

Verdict

A fully functional kitchen compost bin for under a tenner with a decent capacity so you don’t have to empty it every day.  

Best Small – Kilner Kitchen Composter 2 Litre

It looks very much like the little brother of our Best Stainless Steel composter. The diameter is about the size of a cereal bowl and at 19cm high it could sit on a cookbook and still fit under the top cupboards.

The stainless steel body can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth. Two carbon filters are included and fit neatly in the lid to keep smells in.

Pros and Cons

  • Material – made from …
  • Ease of use – lid can be removed completely for complete access; wipe clean surface
  • Capacity – 2 ltr is just about the lower limit for a composter, great for one person or if you don’t have that much kitchen waste.
  • Charcoal filter – keeps odours inside
  • Capacity – Can be too small if you eat lots of vegetables

Verdict

If you have limited space on your countertop or you don’t really have that much food waste in one go then this could be a perfect match for you.

FAQs and Trouble-Shooting

Where should I put my kitchen compost bin?

There is no right or wrong place. The important thing is easy access and to have it close by when preparing your food. If you have enough space on your countertop start there.

Other options are inside the cupboard, ideally mounted to the cupboard door so you don’t have to take the bin in and out every day when needed.

On the floor if the thought of food waste on your countertop doesn’t appeal to you. Just make sure you keep it out of reach of pets by choosing a bin with a tight fitting lid.

How does a kitchen compost bin work?

Although micro organisms will start the decomposing process as soon as moist food waste is left alone, kitchen compost bins are essentially just holding places for plant based food waste until emptied either into a real compost bin, wormery or bokashi bin.

Pricier kitchen compost containers allow some air flow to avoid anaerobic (smelly) conditions inside the vessel. If there are airholes these are usually combined with an activated charcoal filter that should allow air in and out, keeps smells inside and provides a barrier against critters like fruit flies.

How do I stop my kitchen compost bin from smelling?

There are two main ways to avoid horific smells taking over your kitchen:

  1. The more frequently you empty the bin the less likely you are to have smells.
  2. Choose a bin with a charcoal filter that keeps odours inside the bin

How do I keep fruit flies out of the kitchen compost bin?

I will still have to find anyone who hasn’t experienced an influx of fruit flies at some point in their compost making history, especially in the summer months. It’s worth pointing out that fruit flies are at most annoying but harmless for people.

All the steps you can take which we have listed here are essentially designed to keep flies away from the food source.

  • use a kitchen compost container with a tight fitting lid
  • keep fruit under a net or similar
  • be vigilant and don’t let any rotting fruit lying around – fruit flies are a glutton for rotting and fermenting fruit
  • keep wine bottles and glasses covered
  • use a fruit fly trap if you do spot any flies

What can I add to the compost?

Any kind of vegetable and fruit peels, scraps, raw, boiled or steamed. Avoid any cooked food that was cooked with grease or oil. egg shells can be added but will take a while until they are broken into small enough pieces so you don’t notice them anymore.

Coffee grounds including filter paper and tea leaves are great additions to your compost. If using tea bags check they are free of plastic before adding to your compost.

In addition add at least half as much brown card board (not shiny), dry leaves or brown paper to the pile.

Does a kitchen compost bin need air holes?

Not if you empty the bin quite frequently, daily or every other day. Longer than that and the material inside can start to rot and ferment. If there is not enough oxygen available things can quickly turn anaerob and smelly. Another advantage of air holes is that it can allow some of the moisture to evaporate.

How does an activated charcoal filter work?

Activated carbon or charcoal filters have a huge surface area where gas pollutants are chemically adsorbiert. That way odours are trapped inside the filter and don’t reach our noses.

How we choose kitchen compost bins

  • Capacity
    The size needs to be enough to take up the kitchen waste of up to max 5 days and still fit into your kitchen, cupboard or on your countertop. 5ltr is a good standard size but household size and cooking and diet habits also play a role in how big the container should be. That’s why we have included the best small and large compost bins to help you find the right one for your requirements.
  • Material
    Since the kitchen compost bin is meant to stay mostly inside your kitchen we looked not just at the practicality of being fit for purpose but also how it looks and keeps looking good when handled frequently. High quality plastic, stainless steel kitchen compost bins, ceramic and even terracotta kitchen compost caddies have their pros and cons.
  • Charcoal filter
    The better buckets have a charcoal filter, a low cost addition that effectively prevents smells and is designed in such a way that it also allows for some ventilation preventing the content to become anaerobic, i.e. smelly too soon.
  • Ease of Use
    We were going through the whole process of using a compost bin and were looking for bins that are:
    Easy to open and close, ideally with one hand
    Easy to empty and fill
    Prevent smells and pests (fruit flies)
    Easy to clean

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