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compost pail - worth it?

I'm late on gifts this holiday season. I want to buy my mom one of those fancified compost pails. do I get the stainless steel, the ceramic, or the bamboo one I just found online, with the liner that's dishwashable? Is this just another one of those glorified, overpriced kitchen gadgets? Should she just stick with her stainless steel bowl? Online reviews are mixed... I'm torn!

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  1. My sister uses a plastic bucket, highly washable, and dumps in into her outdoor compost heap every day or so. I've seen the stainless steel and ceramic pails; while pretty, they struck me as a kitchen item for one with deep pockets. Useful, I'm sure, but maybe not worth the price.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      +1 Plastic bucket for the win. And, if buy the plastic bucket at the right store, it may even come with some ice cream in it...

      1. re: Indirect Heat

        +2 (or whatever it is now) on the plastic bin/pail/bucket. Ours has a hinged lid attached which kinda gets in the way, but it's nice in the summer when fruit scraps can start to ferment pretty quick. Easy to rinse, which I usually do over the backyard bin to give the rest of the pile a drink.

    2. If she's already tossing out the compost everyday, or against the idea of collecting it for more than a day, then I don't think she needs a compost pail. As far as I can tell, that fancy bucket offers a place to slip in a charcoal filter to stop the odor, and provides nothing more than what a mixing bowl can accomplish.

      1. Mine is plastic and has a large roll of decomposable bags. I believe it was about $15 or so - cheap. The roll of bags will last about two years. The plastic pail has vents and doesn't smell. As it uses bags you don't have to even wash it very often at all. I love the idea of composting as a Master Gardener and love how it adds happiness to my veggies. So, to me it is worth it.

        1. I've been using an attractive but cheap white metal canister from Ikea for more than 5 years. I don't think the charcoal filters are necessary, though I do sort of like the idea of biodegradable plastic bags.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Glencora

            Yes - the bags are great. The plastic pail is cool as it is vented all over the place but, as Indirect Heat mentions above, you could easily use a pail that contains, well, ice cream! That would have been a nice bonus...

          2. Mine's a small galvanized steel farm bucket, the kind that has a special bail to lock the lid on, so you can leave it outside the back door and critters won't make a mess. About $10. Doubles as a fireplace ash bucket.

            Something to think about: At our city house, the solid waste utility just changed its recycling rules, and now allows all foodscraps to go into the yardwaste bin. Your mom's may be next.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              Mrs W couldn't be happy until she got the metal pail -
              we've had it three years and to my knowledge she
              has never emptied or washed it. I do it all - then I
              find garbage which should be in it in the trash. The
              same charcoal filter that was in it when she bought it
              is still in the lid. The place that sold us the pail has no
              replacement filters and see they quit selling the pails.
              I will say the filter still does the job.

              Then there is the two heavy duty black plastic 55 gallon
              composters sitting in the back yard - don't get me started
              on them.

              1. re: Johnny West

                Things do get tossed by mistake. Going through a batch of finished compost this fall I found a rusty strawberry huller, a cherry pitter and a corkscrew! It's still worth it, IMO.