Some indoor compost containers can let unwanted smells escape and attract annoying fruit flies and other bugs—gross! Inhabitat recently tested Naturemill's ceramic countertop composter to see if it would make composting in the kitchen more convenient, without all the yuck. Read on to learn how our test run went - and for some handy tips on how to best turn your fruit and veggie scraps into nutrient-rich compost!
The first thing you will notice about the ceramic pail composter when taking it out of the box is that it’s very simple to set up. After snapping the stainless steel handle onto the knobs on either side of the pail, your assembly is complete.
The ceramic pail has a one gallon capacity, but you would be surprised at how fast it can get filled! I often will freeze my food scraps before adding them to the compost. This helps to allow a batch of scraps in the pail to have time to compost. The other thing it does is to help the scraps to compost a little faster, because the freezing and thawing aids in the first phase of break down.
Now it’s time to start adding your scraps. Since the pail is a glazed ceramic it will never rust or corrode, so you can put your scraps directly into the pail. There is also the option to use a compost pail liner if you prefer, but this is totally optional.
In my experience composting indoors, it is best to stick with a mixture that is mostly fruit and vegetable scraps, and a small portion of paper, leaves or other natural materials with less moisture. Stay away from meat, but feel free to add in some eggs shells. Just know that shells from eggs or nuts will compost at a slower rate than other foods. Another good rule of thumb is to limit your quantities of any foods that cause your body to give off an odor—from your breath or otherwise. This means go easy on adding any onion, cabbage, beans, and so on. Highly acidic foods, like lime, can kill the composting action, so these should also be added in moderation. Also, DO NOT add in compostable utensils to your pail. Although these products are compostable, their break down process is very, very slow.
Now that your pail is full, you should make sure that your charcoal pad filter is seated in the lid correctly. The disk shaped filter easily pops into the domed lid.
The charcoal pad is key to this pail being really easy to live with because it blocks the odors of the compost. I have to admit that I was skeptical that this pail could mitigate odors because of my bad experiences with other indoor composting systems, but thanks to the pad, the pail managed to be completely odorless.
On average, one filter pad will last six months to a year depending on how odorous your scraps are; you will know when it is time to change the pad, when you start to catch a whiff. But here’s a tip: If you forgot to order more charcoal pads and your start to get some stink, sprinkle baking soda in your pail until you can change the filter.
The food decomposition starts to happen in just a few days. Unlike some compost pails that block air from circulating, this pail has holes in the ceramic lid that allow air to flow and speed up the process. If your mixture seems too moist, add in some dry materials that are sometimes referred to as “brown” materials. This includes leaves, paper, sawdust, or even lint that comes from natural fabrics.
After using the pail for several weeks, I continue to be really happy with its performance—it is still odor free! The other great thing about this pail is that the style is simple and it is reminiscent of french ceramic bakeware.
This ceramic pail is available in three colors, and can be purchased online through Naturemill. If you want to get started on composting with your very own pail, Naturemill is hooking up Inhabireaders with exclusive discounts. Just enter coupon code CXMZ83 for $30 off their Kitchen Composter Ultra in Black (retail $399) or Stainless Steel EZ-Grip Compost Pail (retail $70). Don’t feel like dropping the dough? We’re giving away two Naturemill compost bins! Check out the deets here.
Images ©Lea Stewart for Inhabitat