Compost containers in the counter

kam76February 28, 2013

For those of you that have a compost container in a hole in your counter how is that working for you? I am consdering it but was wondering if there were any considerations. I have a compost bucket now and it is fine but it would be nice to not have to look at it out on the counter.

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For my new kitchen, I consider the drawer that pulls out to a bin, but even the kitchen designers says they smell really bad. I've attached a bracket to the back of the cabinet under my sink. It hide it and is great for dumping the odd thing in. When I am making a big meal with lots to discard, I just take it out.

I'd be interested in hearing other peoples thoughts and tips in compost too!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Oldbat2b has the Blanco Solon. I was waffling until I saw her seup and I just installed it. Somehow as this has a lid on it, I prefer this to the compost in the cabinet option. You have to be pretty serious about composting though to cut a hole in the countertop. Hafele and others have a similar option too. Blanco is more expensive but I liked that it was stainless steel and the top was flush with the counter. in my setup, I will dump it end of the day everyday.

I hope Oldbat sees this and chimes in..

Here is a link that might be useful: Oldbat2be kitchen reveal

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:34PM
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I so wanted a Solon, but just not enough space in our ktichen to do this.
I might mount it under sink downstream - but for now, I just freeze the compost and then episodically take out to the compost bin.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:54PM
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GWlolo - looking forward to hearing how you like yours! Are you cooking yet?

The inset Solon composter is one of my favorite features in the kitchen. We used to have a ceramic countertop composter, but it was smaller and took up room.

This is a good size and while I can fill it up pretty quickly when I'm really prepping, usually we only empty 1-2 times a week.

It goes right in the DW.

It's located in the rear left corner of a 36" base cabinet which also has three pull out trash cans.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:27AM
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Based Oldbat2be's kitchen I seriously contemplated getting the Solon in counter composter. When I thought about how my family preps and creates compost I realized it wasn't for us.
Argument 1:There is often more than one of us prepping; so a container that is portable is needed. If I am going to take the Solon container out of the counter and tote it around, why not just continue taking the container I keep under the sink out and tote that.
Argument 2: Solon cost approx $300, my container is reuse and free.
Argument 3: I sort my compostables, and sometimes use more than one container; one container for the bunny, one container for the chickens, one container to the compost pile, and sometimes coffee grinds right to the roots of a plant needing an acid fix.
Think about how you prep and factor that into your decision.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:08AM
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local eater makes some important points.

1) I mix all my compostables as I do not have chickens etc.
2) DH really hated the compost container under the sink and it was a pain to keep opening and additng while prepping.
3) He also really did not want to see a ceramic or whaterver container on the countertop. Don't ask why having it inset in the counter is OK but it is.
4) I wanted a size that is an everyday empty size. We are a family of vegetarians and I will fill up that volume in a day or so. I also did not want to use the compost bags.

Like Oldbat says, the location is key. My set up is almost identical - I have my compost inset so that it is behind the pullout trash with a drawer in the front.

It is expensive. I chose to not do instant hot and do this instead.

Oldbat - Not cooking yet. The cabinet guys are not done and no appliances installed yet. As mine kitchen is part of a whole house rebuild. Other parts of the house are also taking time :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:23AM
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If my kitchen could have accommodated it, I would have loved one of these Solons. As it is, I wish I'd done what brooklyngalley did, with her compost keeper in the trash pull out. I keep my covered compost bucket under the sink, and it's fine, but not as efficient as either of these other options. I do like having it off the counter, though, since I have so little counter space.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Another thing to consider is whether you live in an area where you might have municipal compost in the future. That's the main reason we didn't look to in-counter solutions (which I agree are pretty cool!) We have a four-way sort: home compost (fruits/veg/coffee/eggs), city compost (all other food and food-contaminated paper), recyclables, and trash. So it got pretty unwieldy to contemplate built-in compost solutions unless we had two, and then we were really sacrificing counter space. If you aren't likely to have food waste collection in your area, or if you would stop home composting if you did, then you avoid this issue, though. We only had room for one in-cabinet trash pullout, so it's used for recyclables and trash.

(And we haven't come up with a good solution yet--this is the one area of our remodel that I have been trying to sort out since a few years before we started and now we're two years into the new kitchen and still making do with bowls on the counter--augh!) So I also look forward to hearing the ideas--every year or so a thread like this pops up and there are always a few new thoughts. Someday we will find the one that works for us!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Fori is not pleased

Isn't it really hard to get a pizza box through that hole?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:34PM
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I appreciate all of these comments. We fill our counter top bin daily and I take it out so I am not worried about smell or anything like that.
There is no way we will ever have municipal compost and even if we did I wouldn't send my scraps away, we use them and the chickens are great composters for me. $300 seems like a lot for a bin but I know these are specialty items. Oldbat2be do you remember how much the counter top folks charged to cut the hole? Fori- we never order pizza, to far out in the boonies, I always make it at home so no big boxes...I rip up my card board paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls and put them in my compost though.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Kam76-sorry, don't remember. GWlolo may though....? I can measure my cutout for you if you like.

Fori, ha! A huge pet peeve of mine is pizza boxes (for some reason, I hate them). We're in the boonies too and I'm quite the pizza snob. While we never do takeout, we do go regularly to one great place, about 20 minutes away, Flatbread, in Amesbury, MA. We always request tinfoil for our left overs....

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:53PM
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M.tex charged $100 for the cutout in my soapstone. I empty compost everyday. I am choosy about my compost and even though we have city compost, I compost our scrapes for my veggie bed. Again.. I spent a long time studying our compost habits and prep habits before I decided it was worth it to cut the countertop.

There are 2 models of e Solon. The one that Oldbat and I have is e flush inset one and the cutout has to have a step in it. Make sure your fabricator sees the installation notes. It is not just a round hole in the countertop. It would also be a good idea to have the cabinet guy do the hole in the plywood top before the fabricator comes for templating.

This post was edited by GWlolo on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 21:04

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Another fan of the Blanco Solon here. We've had it for a couple years now, and both spouse and I still love it. We empty ours once every few days, and haven't had any issues. As the other folks have implied, the lid keeps the smell out, and I often have no idea how full it is until I lift that lid :)

The price did seem high to me, too, until I actually got one into my hands and realized that the build quality is exceptional. It feels much more like a commercial product than a residential one- they use a think stainless steel, and I have no doubt it will be one of the longest lasting components of our kitchen.

One finer consideration you might want to think about is setback from the counter edge. Try to consider the container full of food (weighs a few pounds), and then picture trying to lift it up and out of its housing. The further away you get from the counter edge, the more you're leaning over and the greater the stress on your back.

The same setback is important as you think about the beauty of being able to work directly above the compost bin. For example, peeling carrots with the peels falling directly into the bin.

For both of these common tasks, the closer the placement to the edge of the countertop, the easier they will be. However, if you put it right at the close edge of the countertop, then you have to make other sacrifices (such as losing the utility of a drawer in front of the bin, which both oldbat2be and I have).

If you're younger, you probably won't even notice these details, but as you age, you will notice them more and more. If you want to consider this detail, you can easily model different placements with some cutouts and/or bags of bulk foods.

Enjoy your kitchen planning!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Pictures (including Blanco Solon)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Wow, those are all some great comments!
I can't wait to get my compost bin in the counter.
We are going to go with Hafele or Rev-a-Shelf because they're bigger. I can't deal with going out to the pile more than once per week. And I agree, it won't stink. The pail under the sink doesn't stink now, can't see why it'd be any different.

Interesting point about putting it towards the counter edge, but don't want to give up the drawer space.

I would love to put it where the trash pull out is, but since it's a double trash pull-out, this won't work. So it's going to be next to the trash pull out in the prep area, and KD said they'd cut out space in the drawer underneath to fit around it.

Can someone please explain the two types? I don't understand - one is flush and one isn't? Why one vs the other? Can I see the difference? (I didn't appreciate the difference on the diagrams on the company website)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Olivertwist, this is a really late response (because I just found this thread), but in case you're still wondering, the Solon comes in one version, but it can be installed two ways. The installation instructions set out both ways - one is a surface mount, the other makes the unit flush to the countertop.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 11:37PM
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With our limited counter space, we went with a silicone compost bin that you keep in the freezer. A bit small, but easy to empty, and keeps smell and fruit flies away.
Not what you asked about, but a different yet lower cost option.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:15AM
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