Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin

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Lawrence Xing
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The Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin is a kitchen compost bin that is meant to be a great way to store food scraps and waste throughout the week before dumping it to a larger compost elsewhere. While composting food scraps is inherently great for the environment, Chef’n fails to fully make the connection between its composting products and sustainability, with a lack of initiatives and overall ignorance. 

What it's made of:


The Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin is made from several key components. There is a white ceramic outer bucket, green inner bucket, stainless steel handle, plastic lid, and charcoal filter. Starting with the buckets, ceramic is generally considered more sustainable than other materials purely from a longevity standpoint. The long lifetime of the material often means that ceramic pottery can be used for decades as long as the consumers are content with the product. It is worth noting that ceramic takes a long time to biodegrade, often due to the glaze on the outside of the clay, which can have toxic ingredients. It is also not recyclable, however, if one were to continue using a product like the EcoCrock Bin for a long time, this would not really be an issue. 

In regards to the other materials, stainless steel is generally a very sustainable material because of its endless recyclability that does not sacrifice quality (There is also a stainless steel version of this product that replaces the ceramic). Next, the plastic lid is obviously one of the more unsustainable parts of the product, which makes up the top. Plastic is a huge contributor to global pollution and it would’ve been nice to see a different material used for the lid. Finally, the most interesting material is the charcoal filter, which is meant to help filter out the smell of the food waste. While charcoal gives off very harmful greenhouse gases when burned, its production from trees can technically be considered a renewable fuel. There is not much information on how the charcoal filters are made, so it is difficult to decide if more weight should be given to the filters not having to be burned for use, or to the fact that it is not a recyclable material. 

Overall, the EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin utilizes some sustainable materials in making it potentially something a consumer could use for a long time, however, its focus seems to be more geared towards stylizing the look towards a clean kitchen accessory. 

How it's made:


According to its website, all Chef’n products are designed in Seattle, Washington by employees who work exclusively for Chef’n. They work closely with overseas partners to make sure that the materials they want to be used in their products are actually being used. Chef’n also tests its products to the FDA food-safety standards for melamine and BPA. The EcoCrock Bin is BPA safe, which means that it does not contain harmful levels of bisphenol A, an industrial chemical often food in plastics. Finally, Chef’n states that all its products undergo rigorous quality inspections by both factory partners and the internal quality assurance team. 

While all of this is really important, it was really difficult to find further information to follow up on truthfulness of any of the statements. There is not much transparency of the supply chain as to where the overseas partners might be located or how they might hold these partners accountable for its manufacturing processes. Besides privacy and terms of use pages, there also doesn’t exist any fair labor or code of conduct statements anywhere on its website, which further adds to the difficulty of verifying how Chef’n does quality assurance. All of this makes it really difficult to give the company even a decent score in how it makes its products. 

Who makes it:


As a whole, Chef’n is a company that is focused on making kitchen tools that help making cooking easier. From its foundation in the 1980s, the theme has always been innovation and making funky and functional gadgets. The EcoCrock Bin is no different in that it was made to be a countertop accessory that looks like it was made to be in the kitchen with the clean, white design and little plant handle at the top. However, this all means that the company was not founded on sustainability.

It currently does not have a sustainability page or list initiatives anywhere. In fact, besides the one-liner for a different compost bin, “Save Your Scraps and Save the Environment”, there is little to no mention of environmental sustainability even in product details of the EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin. It is pretty baffling that they would not have more of an emphasis on this given the obvious connection between composting and sustainability of food waste. The only thing that can be said is that encouraging people to compost with stylish accessories like this one is ultimately still a benefit towards sustainability efforts as a whole. In the meanwhile, Chef’n could do a lot to improve on this front.