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How To Store Food Scraps For Composting At Home

Are you interested in composting at home but don’t know how to store your food scraps until you’re ready to take them out to your compost bin? Here are several ways to store food scraps for composting at home.

No matter how you compost (and there are many ways to compost at home), you’ll likely have a period of time between when you create the food scraps and when you take them to a compost collection spot. There are many ways to store these food scraps before they are ready for a trip to your bin.

Through many contributions to Bring Your Trash To Life from a variety of residential composters, it’s clear there are many ways to store the food scraps before you take them out to a compost heap, add them to a compost bin, or set them out for collection by a private composting service or municipal collection program.

8 Ways To Store Food Scraps For Composting At Home

Here are several ways to store your food scraps in your kitchen before composting. We’ve tried all of them and can attest to each of them as a suitable way to store scraps if it suits your style!

Countertop Compost Crock

A countertop compost caddy is a really common container for storing compostable food scraps until you take them out to the compost bin, tumbler, or whatever system you use. Some (though not all) countertop containers have charcoal filters under the lid. The charcoal filters help prevent smells from escaping the container and, consequently, significantly reduce the risk of your scraps attracting insects or pests. 

We use this compost caddy from simplehuman and this Natural Home Brands container in our kitchen. We have replaced the charcoal filter on the Natural Home Brands container several times (about once every six months), but the container is still in great shape. We rinse it with soap and water each time we empty it. Beyond that, it’s super low maintenance. 

If you use a countertop compost caddy, you do not need to use plastic bags inside the container. You can use them if you’d like, but they really aren’t necessary.

When we initially bought the Natural Home Brands countertop bin, I purchased a set of compostable bags to use inside the container. However, most of these compostable bags do not compost well in backyard composting bins. The temperature does not get high enough to break them down properly.

Compostable bags will break down in industrial composting facilities, so if you use a collection service compostable bags may be a nice alternative to help keep your compost caddy cleaner. 

For us, we skip the bags and save money. Sometimes I add a sheet of paper towel or paper at the bottom of the container to make it easier to empty the contents into a compost bin. This helps prevent items from sticking to the bottom. However, it’s definitely not necessary.

Compost Container or Bag in The Freezer or Fridge

Many people simply add food scraps to a plastic bag or another container and store the food scraps in the freezer until they are ready to transfer them to the compost pile or another bin or bucket. This is a great option that costs virtually nothing, and you can reuse containers or plastic bags you already have on hand.

Food Scrap Bowl On Counter

If your compost bin or pile is easily accessible, you can store your food scraps in a bowl on your counter. Be sure that you bring these out to your pile daily so they don’t start to attract fruit flies and other insects. However, many contributors to the Bring Your Trash To Life series keep their food scraps on the counter and take them out each evening.

Compost Bucket Under Sink

Many people who use a composting pickup service keep food scraps in an enclosed bucket under their sink. The bucket is picked up each week by the composting service. Even if you don’t use a composting service, you could still store your food scraps in an airtight bucket in a cabinet or under the sink in your kitchen. Then bring the scraps out to the compost pile or bin every week or two.

Compost Bucket On Your Patio or Balcony

You may be able to store your food scraps in an airtight bucket right outside your door on a patio or balcony. So long as the bucket is sealed tightly and emptied periodically, it shouldn’t attract pests or wildlife.

If you keep it outside in the winter, the food scraps could freeze inside the bucket which can make it harder to empty, but it’s worth a shot if you have space.

Compost Jar On The Counter

One person who drops off her compost food scraps in my compost bin (and I found through ShareWaste) keeps her compost scraps in a nice jar on the counter. Although I was surprised to see her compost scraps in a clear glass jar, it was also the prettiest composting food scrap container I’d seen.

If you have a jar available, it will work. So long as it’s airtight or has a charcoal filter, just about any container on the counter will hold food scraps for several days or up to a week until you can put them in the compost bin.

Electronic Composter Bucket on Counter

If you have an electronic composter, like the Foodcycler, you can easily keep your food scraps right in the compost bucket that comes with the machine. We have a Foodcycler, and the bucket is sleek and simple so it looks nice on the counter and doesn’t feel like it needs to hide. It also has a built-in charcoal filter on the top to prevent smells from seeping out of the bucket.

Collect Food Scraps In A Plastic Bag

If you’re an especially ambitious composter, you might even consider bringing food scraps home with you if you’re out and about instead of throwing them into the trash to end up in a landfill.

While hiking recently, we collected our food scraps in a repurposed bread bag and brought them home to our compost bin. This was a really easy way to avoid throwing them out without taking up a lot of space or being particularly inconvenient. Storing food scraps in a plastic bag works on the road and even at home!

Generally, the best way to store your food scraps in your kitchen depends on how often you move your food scraps to your composting bin. Other factors, such as climate or the number of bugs and pests that hang around where you live, could also impact how quickly food scraps on your counter become stinky or attract bugs.

In the end, do what works for you and your family. Whichever system best suits your household, your budget, and your lifestyle is the right system for you.

If you compost at home, how do you store your food scraps before you take them out to your compost bin? Share any other ideas in the comments so this post can be even more helpful to those looking to start composting at home.

Lastly, if you’re looking to learn more about composting, be sure to check out all our resources about Everything To Know About Composting At Home.

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  1. I’m composting and I’m having trouble with my husband, he is not ok with my going green and saving plastic bags and food scraps he’s afraid that I’m going to attract bugs this can be a huge strain on our marriage, his parents made him compost as a kid and he didn’t like that job. I’m not giving up

    1. It can be hard to get other family members on board. Hopefully, if you slowly incorporate it into your family life and show there are no issues, he’ll come around. 🙂 Good luck!

  2. I have a fantastic built in compost pail that has a rubber gasket to control odour and flies. It is set right into my counter; made by Blanco. Have had it for years and would highly recommend if you are building a new kitchen or doing a remodel.

  3. I use airtight ceramic canisters (like the flour, sugar, tea/coffee) that sit on my counter. I use one for food scraps & one for egg shells. When they are full, I take them out. I rinse my egg shells & let them air dry outside. Once dry, I crush them in the blender & store in a recycled jar or plastic container. I use them to fertilize my garden, keep bugs away and supplement my compost.

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