Composting is more accessible than ever – and you don’t need a backyard to start reaping the benefits – you can set up shop right on your kitchen bench.
With the composting market set to reach a worth of around 13 billion dollars by 2024, and 35% of Aussies composting their garden waste, you don’t have to be a green thumb to get into this sustainable practice.
With half of all fruit and veggie produce wasted and an output of nearly 80 million tonnes of waste in Australia every year, we have a bit of a landfill problem. This is because food wastage is a big contributor to climate change due to the methane released from fruit and veggie scraps. When you take into account the 28% of food each Aussie household wastes, composting poses an attractive solution.
Indoor composting has been growing in popularity as it’s accessible to apartment-dwellers or those who are looking to enjoy the convenience and benefits of kitchen bench composting. Unlike outdoor composting, keeping your heap inside means you won’t have to worry about sheltering your compost from direct sunlight and rain – in fact, it flourishes year-round in an indoor environment.
Why should you compost?
Composting is a great way to put all your fruit and veggie scraps to good use – that compost mix will become nutrient-packed and can provide the perfect fertiliser for the garden. It helps to reduce the risk of pests and diseases that hinder the growth of plants, and also ensures you won’t have to spend money on expensive – and toxic – chemical fertilisers.
Benchtop composting is an easy way that those without a backyard can get into this sustainable practise. Plus, it reduces the smell of your other garbage bins, the reason being that the foods that create that ‘rubbish bin’ smell are the ones you’ll likely be composting – but don’t worry, the compost bin won’t smell, we promise. Like outdoor composting, it also plays a role in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. All you need is a little space on your kitchen bench – so move the toaster aside and get composting!
What to put in your compost bin.
- Fruit scraps.
- Teabags and ground coffee.
- Egg shells.
- Grass and plant cuttings.
Elements of a benchtop compost bin.
- Stainless steel: Sturdy and a good choice for those looking for a sleeker compost bin that will blend in with your other appliances.
- Plastic: One of the cheaper and more popular options, but it is one of the less environmentally-friendly options.
- Recycled materials: Materials such as bamboo may be incorporated into compost bins, and these are far better options when it comes to biodegradability.
- Ceramic: These are heaver to lift and easier to break, though they do make for a nice kitchen feature.
- Smaller compost bins: These tend to hold around 1 to 2 litres and are more suitable to a kitchen benchtop composting setup as the bigger bins tend to accumulate a smell over time. In your backyard its negligible, but in your kitchen? Not so appetising.
- Bigger compost bins: These are less useful for an indoor compost bin and tend to be used more so outside and for those who know they’ll be able to fill it before it starts to smell. These can hold as much as 10 litres of compost.
- Hinged lid: Having a hinged lid can be a challenge as you won’t be able to remove and easily clean the lid, but one the plus side, at least you won’t lose it!
- Door-mounted: For extra convenience, these bins can be mounted straight onto your door, therefore taking up less space in the kitchen.
- Carbon-filtered: Compost bins can start smelling a little funky after a while, and when you’ve got your bin set up in the kitchen, it can make the whole home stink. That’s where carbon filtering comes in, this traps those odours in the bin’s filter, keeping your kitchen fresh.
- Air vents: Compost caddies with air vents play a role in cutting down moisture and decreasing the risk of mould.
Here are our top picks.
After looking through the plentiful options for a quality benchtop composting bin, we've settled on the elements that combine quality, sustainability and affordability.
- Stainless steel compost bins are sturdy and resistant to odours, ensuring your kitchen – and the rest of the home – stays stink-free. It’s also easy to wash and reuse.
- Filtered compost bins are one feature we wouldn’t compromise on. It traps odours and reduces the chances of mould developing in your compost. This is because warm temperatures and low oxygen levels is the best breeding ground for bacteria, and without ventilation, they may take up residence in your bin. A carbon filter is ideal as they can not only trap bacteria and odours, but also heavy metals like lead.
- A regular lid that can be removed is ideal for proper cleaning and, as such, we would favour this over a hinged lid. Though those can be more convenient, it’s important to be able to remove the lid with ease.
- A smaller compost bin or caddy is most suitable for an indoor environment, unless you plan on composting a tonne of scraps – and fast – in a short amount of time. This is because it reduces the ability for odours to build up.
We hope our tips have given you some inspiration for your own indoor composting project. From food scraps to hair – yes, hair – there are countless items you can drop into your compost bin instead of landfill.