As someone who is always trying to find a new way to be more sustainable (past attempts have included renting clothing for special events and introducing glass straws), I’ve recently been focusing on cutting down the amount of trash I accumulate. And while I’ve gotten good at sorting my plastic from my metal on recycling day and reusing items where I can, I noticed that the majority of my weekly waste consisted of vegetable offcuts and leftovers gone bad. It was only a matter of time before I made my way to composting—cue the Food52 compost bin.  

Growing up, my family had two large bins in the backyard, but they were mostly for dead leaves and fallen branches—weekend omelet eggshells notwithstanding. Now I live in a city where my outdoor space consists of, well, a fire escape, so an industrial-size container wasn’t going to work. Friends have recommended a mixing bowl or paper bag in the freezer, but with two roommates, those two shelves are highly coveted real estate.

green compost bin dumping out food scraps.
Courtesy of Food52

The brand’s newest version, a sleek silicone bucket (complete with lid and handle for easy carrying), fits perfectly on the windowsill across from my countertop—great for when I need a quick transfer of my cutting-board scraps. With a 1.5-gallon capacity, the bin takes me a month or so to fill up completely—assuming I’m cooking my regular 10 meals a week. And when it’s emptied, I can just pop it in the dishwasher and it’s fresh for another week. 


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Most cities (and in New York’s case, neighborhoods) have local drop-off centers that are easy to access, and I walk 20 minutes on Saturday mornings to deposit the food scraps at my local recycling center. In the past, my frozen paper bags have ripped, spilling apple cores all over the street, and in the winter, my metal mixing bowls would freeze my gloved hands. However, the handle on this option makes for easy transportation in any weather. 

The best part of my new countertop companion: I can’t smell a single thing. I mean, I’m literally keeping rotting food and potting soil next to my coffee maker, so ensuring I don’t get a whiff of last week’s salad during my morning cuppa is crucial. 

Priced at just $49, it’s also one of the most affordable models out there, and there’s no need for pesky charcoal filters you have to remember to replace. Just pop your food scraps/paper goods/coffee grounds/etc. in the container and continue on with your culinary masterpiece.

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Five Two Down-to-Earth Compost Bin, Food52 ($49)
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