Norpro Stainless Steel Pail


Best indoor compost bucket

What’s truly superb about this countertop pail — aside from its fun design, reminiscent of a classic galvanized trash can — is that it’s made of stainless steel and is dishwasher safe. We fill ours daily with kitchen waste — messy coffee grounds, used tea leaves, aging cornmeal mush, soggy cucumbers — but a quick cycle in the dishwasher and it looks almost as good as new. Years ago I used a plastic bucket designed to perform the same task, but it was difficult to keep clean and less rugged for trips to our backyard compost bin (the lid kept breaking). Since it gets banged around inside the house and out, I prefer this stainless steel, one gallon-capacity model to its ceramic lookalike.

Yes, there are many clever ways to repurpose some other household container into a waystation for outbound kitchen waste, but I haven’t seen one work as well as this sturdy, ventilated design. The charcoal filters keep rotting smells in check, while allowing for airflow. Frequent trips to empty a simple Tupperware container would be fine, but our bin’s about 30 feet from the back door. With this one-gallon pail, we only end up heading out there every other day.

-- Elon Schoenholz 12/1/09