How to Save and Store Kitchen Scraps for Composting

A compost bin in a kitchen
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Once you decide to start saving food scraps for composting, you'll need to figure out a system to transport them from your kitchen to your outdoor bin. Unless you don't mind running out to the compost ​pile every time you peel a banana or make a cup of tea, you'll need to find a vessel to store those scraps. Here are a few ideas.

  • 01 of 05

    Compost Crock

    A compost bin in a kitchen
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    If you need to store your kitchen scraps on a countertop, the aesthetics of your container is something to consider. If you want something more attractive than a plastic bucket, compost crocks may be the perfect solution for you. They're generally made of stainless steel or ceramic and are unobtrusive on a countertop or island. More importantly, crocks usually come equipped with charcoal filters to prevent the crock's contents from smelling up your kitchen. Crocks are not necessarily cheap—most models cost between $20 and $60.

  • 02 of 05

    Compost Pail or Bucket

    Compost bin

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    Compost pails are a good solution for those gardeners who have an area in a cabinet or pantry in which to store their kitchen scraps. Pails are a bit larger than crocks and are usually made of steel or plastic. The plastic options are, obviously, less expensive than the metal ones. Some of the metal pails incorporate filters similar to those used by compost crocks. The plastic ones prevent odors from pervading your home via air-tight lids. Prices for pails run between $10 and $50.

  • 03 of 05

    Coffee Cans

    Coffee cup

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    If you don't produce a ton of kitchen waste during the day, a simple plastic or steel coffee can will work for you just fine. Be sure to save the lid, and you have a convenient kitchen scrap containment system. Coffee cans can be stored in a cabinet or the refrigerator. Storing the container in the fridge will help keep odors under control, especially if you make a point of emptying and rinsing it every day.

  • 04 of 05

    Reused Plastic Bucket from Detergent or Paint

    Laundry detergent
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    If you buy laundry detergent in large bulk-sized buckets or have a five-gallon bucket left over from your last painting project, you have a perfect receptacle for your kitchen scraps. Wash the containers out, save the lids, and start adding your kitchen scraps. Because these containers are so large, you may be able to go a couple of days before you have to empty it into the compost. The only problem with this is that odors can build up in the bucket. If you have some Bokashi mix on hand, you can sprinkle some on top of the pile every time you add scraps to help control the smell.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Plastic Bags

    Plastic bag
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    You can store kitchen scraps in plastic bags in your refrigerator and then empty them out into your compost pile or worm bin at the end of the day. Alternately, if you're storing up kitchen waste to start composting in the spring, you can freeze it in a plastic bag and empty the contents when you are ready to build your pile. The nice thing about this is that not only are there no odors, but the kitchen waste breaks down faster in the compost pile after having gone through the freezing and thawing process.

Finding a collection container that works for you may take some experimenting, but once you decide on a system, you'll be well on your way to creating compost for your garden.