Separating food waste every time may seem daunting, and having the right tool will certainly make it less annoying - and enjoyable, even! Your compost bin will be an everyday fixture in your kitchen, and you will likely be reaching for it more frequently than your favorite pots and pans.

There are many kitchen compost bin options out there, from the free bins provided by the local government to the compost machines with a price tag of a few hundred dollars. Here are some key features that you should be looking for when choosing a food waste container:

  • Choose odorless ones! You might not have time to take the food waste out of your kitchen every day. A day-old food waste smell leaking from a container doesn’t sound great, especially in the kitchen. Plastic or other organic material containers like bamboo have a porous surface that cannot trap the smell completely. Stainless steel, on the other hand, has a nonporous surface that doesn’t let odor particles escape. 
  • Durability is the key. You will put your compost bin through the wringer. They will stay wet and dirty for many days, won’t be washed and dried frequently, and you will hit them into the doors, the edge of the collection bin, the kitchen sink and countertop, and other bins. Do not choose a design or material that dents, bends or rusts. Vatya uses 304 stainless steel, with 0.6mm thickness and high corrosion resistance - meaning that it will keep its form and will not rust even with everyday usage. 
  • Low- or no-no-maintenance containers are the winners. Don’t buy bins that you need to replace the filter, or worse yet, replace the whole thing every few months. Choose the ones that you can just let be - sitting on your countertop or under the sink, as a constant fixture. 
  • Go cordless. Some homes use compost machines instead of bins to collect food waste to participate in collection programs (or do backyard composting). Ultimately, we separate food waste to reduce emissions, and using electricity to compost would, by definition, defeat the greater purpose. So choose simple bins that can last you forever and can be recycled. It will also save you hundreds of dollars. 

Finally, many local governments, including NYC, is letting residents order compost bins for free, but unfortunately, these bins are for curbside pickup and not in-home use. Most likely, you will place this bin in your communal garbage room and share it with your neighbors, and even if you have it all to yourself, you might not want to bring the curbside bins inside your kitchen.

Using any designated container for food waste is better than not separating food. However, food separation is an everyday habit, and the cleaner and the more convenient the process is, the better and the longer the habit will stick.