You just can’t consider yourself sustainable until you’ve started composting. And if the current composting pilot program in NYC works out, soon you’ll have no choice.
But it’s a tricky task. If you don’t store your compost correctly, it will smell and attract fruit flies to your kitchen. I’ve tried the pretty little compost bucket, and found it to be completely ineffective.
My next solution was to keep my compost in the freezer, which works pretty well. It keeps it from smelling or attracting fruit flies. But if you don’t have a big freezer, you’ll get annoyed with how much space it takes up. Plus, opening the freezer door and getting the plastic bag out is just annoying enough that you might find yourself throwing compostable things in the trash.
What you need is a super-simple, non-stinky, composting solution.
I first ran across CompoKeeper last year at the Natural Foods Expo when it was still in development. It seemed pretty cool, promising to store your compost without smell or fruit flies. After I settled into my new apartment this fall, I emailed a rep to see if I could try it out. They were nice enough to send me one to try.*
The CompoKeeeper comes in four colors: black, red, green, and white. I went with black to match the accent color in my kitchen. It’s very simple to set up–I had it ready to go in fifteen minutes–and comes with two charcoal filters and several compostable bags. (A nice touch, though in NYC they’re not as useful since you need a special composting facility to process them. You can’t just stick them in a community garden compost pile.)
The CompoKeeper has a mechanism with teeth that seals the bag airtight when the lid is closed. You open it by stepping on a foot lever at the bottom, swinging up the lid and opening the bag wide for you. This works remarkably well, though sometimes you have to rehook the bag around the corners.
What’s great about this system is that it makes it just as easy to put your scraps in the compost as it does in the trash. I’m composting everything now, instead of just the large, obvious stuff.
The bin is just the right size, at six gallons. It takes us about two weeks to fill it up, at which points it’s not too heavy or ungainly to carry to a drop-off spot. My boyfriend takes it on the subway to the Union Square Greenmarket on his way to work.
The first time he took the compost, he told me that there was a puddle at the bottom of the compost bin, which made me groan. I hate cleaning the bottom of trashcans. But when I went to clean it, I realized I could lift out a special inner bag tote and rinsed it down in the sink. The inner bag tote also helps you carry your compost outside with no drips.
In summary: I’m thrilled to have the CompoKeeper in my kitchen, and would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who wants to compost, and compost more effectively.