The #1 Way to Stop Your Countertop Compost Bin From Smelling

It’s an inexpensive, discrete and simple way to keep odors at bay.

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Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where assistant nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

A compost bin in a kitchen
Getty Images / Daniel Allan

Food scraps don't have to turn into trash. Some can even be grown into more edible food and others can be composted to help return nutrients to our food system. Composting is one great way to be sustainable that goes beyond what you eat (we have this guide to composting to help you get started). However, once you start composting it can quickly become apparent that food scraps indoors can get a little, well, funky. There are plenty of tips and tricks to help you keep odors at bay, like adding soil to your compost bin, but I opt for a simple hack. I use a charcoal filter in my countertop compost bin to keep my kitchen smell-free.

12 Pack Charcoal Filters for Kitchen Compost Bin

charcoal filter

Though the filters themselves might not look like much, these are my saving grace for countertop composting. The small pads of activated charcoal absorb and trap odors that food scrap emit over time. Many countertop compost bins have a built-in compartment at the top to hold a charcoal filter. Simply replace the filters every three to six months, or when you can start smelling the compost again. You can get this 12-pack on Amazon that costs less than $15 and will keep your compost bin well-stocked and stench-free for years. They can also easily be cut to fit a smaller size container.

Here are some of my favorite countertop compost bins with compartments for a charcoal filter:

Bamboo Compost Bin

bamboo compost bin

Grove Compact Countertop Compost Bin

compost bin

Classic Countertop Compost Bin

countertop compost bin

Composting is a great way to repurpose your scraps that is also good for the environment, but it can get a little messy (and smelly). This $15 tool will help stop odors in their tracks so your kitchen can stay smelling fresh and clean. Composting is a budget-friendly way to be more sustainable and close the loop on food waste. For more affordable ways to be sustainable, check out these simple, budget-friendly ways to clean up your diet.

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