Greening the Co-op: Countertop Compost Chic

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No sooner did I grumble/comment to Amy's introduction to community-supported agriculture that composting wasn't feasible in my apartment, than the following little helpmate popped up on Apartment Therapy: a compact stainless steel composting pail. It's a petite 11" high with a 7 1/2" diameter, has a capacity of 1 gallon, and features a charcoal filter to cut down on the fragrance of rotting veg trimmings and apple cores...which are likely to be minimal anyway, if the organics are breaking down at the right rate.

I wouldn't call the price especially petite -- about $45 plus shipping at But it's an interesting addition my current options for keeping kitchen waste out of the garbage stream: either saving everything up and periodically lugging it to the compost bins at the 6-15 Green Community Garden, or going for tabletop vermiculture.

Imagine if even five percent of the apartment-dwellers in a megacity like New York used one of these little buckets. How much biomass could we be reclaiming and making useful for our windowboxes, blocks, gardens, yards and parks, instead of trucking or barging it to out-of-state landfills as useless waste? And what might the city save on garbage hauling costs?

According to the Department of Sanitation's NYC Compost Project, "the average New York City household discards two pounds of organic waste each day -- adding up to more than one million tons of organic material a year." This program already offers New Yorkers yard-sized compost bins at a reasonable price. I'd love to see it add a subsidized program to make these little compost pails affordable to every New Yorker who wants one.


Even cheaper-put your compostables in a sealed container during the week and on Saturday add them to the communal compost heap at any greenmarket in the city. I think you can get composted soil from them too.

Posted by: Cynthia on April 17, 2007 5:14 PM