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 ideas to consider when thinking about how 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 a compost heap or add them to a bin. Here are five ways to store your food scraps in your kitchen before composting.
Countertop Compost Crock
A countertop crock is a really common container for housing composting food scraps until you take them or to the compost bin, tumbler, or whatever system you use. Some (though not all) countertop containers have charcoal filters under the lid. These help prevent smells from escaping the container and, consequently, significantly reduce the risk of your for scraps attracting inserts or pests.
We have used this Natural Home Brands container for several years. We have replaced the charcoal filter 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 one of these, you do not need to use plastic bags inside the container. When we initially bought the countertop bin, I also purchased a set of compostable bags to use inside the container. However, these compostable bags are not compostable in backyard composting bins because the temperature does not get high enough to break them down properly. They are only compostable in industrial composting facilities.
Skip the bags and save your 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
Freezer or Fridge
Many people simply add food scraps to a plastic bag or other container in store the food scraps in their freezer until they are ready to transfer them to the compost pile or another bin. You could also store them in the fridge as well. This is a great option that costs virtually nothing.
Bowl On Counter
If your compost bin or pile is easily accessible, you can store your food scraps in a bowl on your counter. You’ll need to 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.
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.
Jar On The Counter
One person who drops off her compost food scraps in my compost bin (who 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.
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 amount 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.