EDITOR’S NOTE: See update below with information on how the compost bin — and its filter — perform after a couple of weeks of use.
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I’ve been composting my kitchen scraps for years. It keeps waste out of landfills and re-purposes it as garden fertilizer or a great top dressing for the lawn.
When you begin composting, besides getting a large bin to use outdoors, it’s also recommended that you get a small countertop container. A countertop bin allows you to collect kitchen scraps a bit at a time — your morning tea bag, the peel from the orange you ate with lunch, the stem ends from the artisan lettuce in your dinner salad — without having to run outside to the large compost bin every time.
In the past, I’ve used plastic buckets or ceramic cookie jars as my countertop compost collector. Some people use small waste baskets hidden in a kitchen cabinet, or some people are completely practical and use empty plastic ice cream tubs. If you want something that is both functional and looks good, in April of 2020, Aldi sold the Crofton Countertop Compost Bin.
The bin sold for $14.99 at the time of publication, which is considerably cheaper than most countertop compost bins sold on Amazon. It’s made in China and is an Aldi Find (Special Buy), which means it’s in stores for a short time only. The bin’s features include:
- 2 odorless filters and 5 compostable bags
- 1-gallon capacity
- Stainless Steel handle
- Measures 8.39″ x 7.13″ x 9.3″
- Available in White, Red, or Dusty Blue
The instructions on the box state you should place your bin on your counter and put food scraps in it during food prep or after meals. Once the bin is full, you can do either of the following:
- Remove the waste (with your compostable bags) and toss in your yard trimmings garbage can. (You might want to check with your local waste company first.)
- If you have a composting area, your composting waste (without the bags) can also be discarded there.
The box also has instructions on how to change the filter:
- Remove the lid from the compost bin, and check for mold or odor. If the filter is moldy, or odor becomes evident, it is time to replace your filter.
- Gently pull the compost filter away from the lid. Discard the filter.
- Place the new filter inside the lid by pressing firmly so the filter is secure and lays flat inside the lid.
- Continue composting.
The instructions recommend replacing your filter if you have a thick layer of mold growing on it. If this is a continuing issue, you may need to adjust what you compost and how often you empty your bin. Having your compost piled high in the bin so it touches the filter is not recommended and may promote mold growth.
This countertop bin is larger than any I’ve previously used, but it still fits nicely on my countertop without taking up too much valuable space. It also adds a chic country aesthetic to my kitchen. It’s one of the prettier countertop bins I’ve had, and with “COMPOST” printed on it in clear lettering, there’s no mistaking it for the cookie jar.
When I pick it up to empty it, I can hear a small piece of something rattling quietly. It appears that the walls of the bin have some hollow space that is inaccessible, and the broken piece seems to be inside. The bin appears to be intact, though, and it doesn’t affect my ability to use the bin.
In the past, I’ve always used countertop compost bins that are airtight without ventilation holes, which usually keeps smells contained and blocks access for fruit flies. A lot of people who compost swear by kitchen pails that have ventilation holes, though, because air flow reduces bad-smelling bacteria. I’m curious to see how it goes using a bin with a filter.
I’m not sure how long the filters will last, and Aldi does not offer information about how to obtain replacement filters, but Amazon sells a variety of filters that can be cut to fit your specific bin. The Aldi bin’s filters are about 5 and 1/4 inches in diameter.
Because our household does not frequently use curbside yard waste pickup services, I don’t intend to use the compostable bags that come with this bin.
Finally, the box for the Aldi countertop compost bin lists what you can and can’t compost, which can guide you as you get started with your own home composting project.
What to Compost:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Tea bags
- Nut shells
- Shredded newspaper
- Yard/Grass trimmings
- House plants
- Hay and straw
- Wood chips
- Cotton and wool rags
- Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
- Hair and fur
- Fireplace ashes
What Not to Compost:
- Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
- Coal or charcoal ash
- Dairy products (butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
- Diseased or insect-ridden plants
- Fats, grease, lard, or oils
- Meat or fish bones and scraps
- Pet waste
- Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
And in closing, if you want more information about how to make your own compost, read my detailed post at our sister site, A Well Advised Life. Spoiler: my favorite outdoor bin is not the one Aldi sells but rather is the Earth Machine. I highly recommend it if you’re serious about composting and want to succeed at it.
UPDATE (5/22/2020): After two weeks of use, the filter in my compost bin suddenly developed white mold spots. I followed the directions for preventing mold and did not pile compost too high inside the bin, and I didn’t let material touch the filter itself, but I still got mold. I do not intend to replace the filter every two weeks because I can see the cost adding up, and I’m not a fan of regularly spending money to buy supplies for composting since I’ve been composting for years without having to spend extra. I rinsed the filter and set it out to air dry to see if I could prolong its lifespan. I went another week or so before the mold reappeared, so I washed it again, with some dish soap, and that seemed to work okay. Rinse and repeat.
After getting tired of washing and drying the filter, I’m currently experimenting with not using a filter at all. I generally empty my compost bin frequently enough that it does not have time to get too smelly, and if I put something that is especially potent in there, such as garlic remnants from when I use my garlic press, I usually empty it into my large outdoor bin right after dinner. So far, I haven’t had problems with fruit flies getting in through the filter holes. I will update with new developments as time passes.
Aldi’s Crofton Countertop Compost Bin is an attractive and functional option for at-home composting. The purpose of a countertop bin is to collect several days of kitchen scraps so you aren’t frequently running to your larger outdoor compost bin in the yard. This countertop bin is spacious and comes with several filters and compostable bags. If you’re trying to reduce the amount of landfill waste your household generates, this is a good tool.