I love trying to find new ways to reduce my waste — I'm all about upcycling and making sure I always have reusable silverware, stainless steel straws, and my Hydroflask on me. Making green choices has been a passion of mine for some time now, and while I know every little bit helps, I always want to strive to be kinder to our Earth. One of the things I knew would help, but had never experimented with, was composting, although I knew food waste was an enormous burden on our planet. I live in Hawaii, and with the humidity, heat, and my all-consuming fear of bugs, I was hesitant to try it out. I finally made the leap a few months ago and purchased the Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin ($18), a small countertop compost bin, at Target, and discovered this is what my green routine had been missing all along.
The stainless steel bin is sleek, inconspicuous, and has a built-in charcoal filter, so you don't have to smell the decomposing contents inside. I've been using it as a way to get an idea of how much food waste my fiancé and I generate, and with us both being on plant-based diets, we have a lot of organic matter that would normally be thrown in the garbage.
I've been filling the container and simply walking it out to the yard when it's full to dump the contents. Target does sell compostable bin liners ($8) that can be tossed right into your larger outdoor compost area, but I choose to go without, because it's so easy to clean out the inside anyway. After emptying, I let the container soak in some hot soapy water to break down any nasties that may have crusted inside, then follow up with a sponge and scrub it clean. During this process, I also like to allow the lid to sit outside so the charcoal filter can air out a bit. I have seen replacement filters online, but haven't noticed any smell seeping through yet, so I'd highly recommend airing the lid out from time to time to prolong the life of your filter.
This compost bin is a huge win for me. The EPA estimates that 38.1 million tons of food waste was thrown away in 2017, and I love knowing that my food waste no longer sits in plastic bags in the landfill. This very small step has encouraged me to compost on a larger scale and continue toward my ultimate goal of living a zero-waste lifestyle.