Aug 22, 2023

The Mill Kitchen Bin Is the Closest a Home Composter Can Get to Perfect

By Sarah Madaus

Illustration by Lizzie Soufleris

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I consider myself a pro when it comes to household composting in an urban apartment environment. This is exactly why I was so excited to test the Mill Kitchen Bin, a buzzy new food waste solution, for the past two months. The bin was conceived by cofounders Matt Rogers and Harry Tannenbaum, and cosplays as a (very beautiful) trash can. But instead of being a purgatory for kitchen trash that ends up in landfills, it grinds up food particles each night and turns them into what the brand calls Food Grounds. From there you ship it off to a farm in Mill’s program, where it will be used as chicken feed.

Keep reading for my full experience using the Mill, including benefits, drawbacks, comparisons to other high-tech waste solutions like the Lomi, and a final verdict.




Millie in all her glory, with a helpful magnet on the front that lists what can and cannot be tossed in the bin

Okay, so the Mill Bin is not actually a composter—composting is a form of biological digestion that breaks down organic material with the help of heat, sunlight, microbes, and sometimes worms. This appliance, on the other hand, grinds, shrinks, and dehydrates your food waste until you’re left with a soil-like end result that’s still food—just without the stink, rot, or heft. It preserves the nutrients so it can remain as food for chickens. That’s why you can’t add things like home compostable bioplastics (like that takeout cutlery) or plant clippings to the Bin.

It has the same look as a step trash can, but it’s fitted with a large, removable bin where you toss your food. Each night the Mill locks and begins a cycle lasting anywhere from 3 to 16 hours, depending on the volume of food scraps you put in that day.

From setup to Food Grounds shipping day, I had a delightful time using the Mill. It’s a bit heavy and awkward for one person to set it up, so I’d recommend having a friend or partner help. It stayed clean, ran quietly, had an intuitive app platform, and chomped up pretty much any kind of food I threw in it. Whenever I wasn’t sure if a kitchen scrap was allowed, I looked it up in the app’s extensive glossary.

During my testing period, Millie (my pet name for it) ran without a hitch—even after parties…and that one time a dozen eggs expired and I had to put them all in the bin. (Sorry!) I put everything in the bin, from salmon skin to small bones to cooked veggies, and the machine was happy with it all.

My food scraps before and after a Dry and Grind cycle

I didn’t notice a significant change in my monthly electric bill, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Moreover, it took an entire month for the bin to fill up without the need to empty it. Once it was time, setting up USPS pickup via the Mill app was seamless. About a week after my Food Grounds were picked up, I received a fun email breaking down (wink) my batch of grounds, which helped me understand the environmental impact of food waste in an easy-to-digest way.

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Personalized waste reporting from the Mill app.

I also have a Lomi compost bin (which I reviewed in 2022), a squat countertop machine that breaks down your waste scraps using heat, abrasion, and oxygen in 24 hours or less. You can toss more varieties of things into the Lomi than the Mill, including flowers, houseplant clippings, soil, and bioplastics. The Lomi claims that the end product is compost, whereas the Mill produces food grounds that are upcycled into feed for chickens.

Compared to the Lomi, the Mill has a much larger bin and footprint and doesn’t need to be emptied out every one to three cycles. Instead, it takes up to a month before it needs to be emptied and picked up by USPS. The Mill also runs on a subscription model at $33 per month until you want to cancel, while the Lomi has a one-time price of $479. The two appliances are both relatively quiet (considering they’re grinding and heating food), and neither produce a strong odor.

As far as environmental impact goes, I haven’t compared the stats side-by-side. The Lomi doesn’t involve shipping your compost via USPS trucks and planes, but you do have to figure out what to do with your compost. I use Grow Mode (a 24-hour cycle) which creates nutrient-rich fertilizer, but when I’m short on time, I use Eco-Express mode, which creates compost that I can take to my local New York City Smart Bin. The Mill has a publicly available third party verified LCA study which shows that the impact of shipping Food Grounds is negligible, since Mill works within existing USPS routes. Those emissions are also more than offset by what's avoided through the rest of the process. You can also choose to avoid the USPS pick-up and shipping and donate your food grinds to your local community.

As someone who reviews products for a living, I’ve seen more than my fair share of greenwashing BS. The Mill Kitchen Bin has a few yellow flags when it comes to sustainability and environmental impact—it is still a product coming from a company with revenue goals, after all—but I think it can still be a genuinely helpful appliance. After testing the Mill for two months, I recommend it to anyone who wants to live a more sustainable life but is short on time, convenience, or has no interest in figuring out the logistics of composting. (The efficiency of this device is unparralleled.) The best solution to reducing your food waste and personal carbon footprint, however idealistic, is (1) putting less waste in the food system in the first place, and (2) long-term, grassroots community organizing to create composting solutions on a local level. But in places where that’s not possible due to regulations, stubborn politicians, or lack of community engagement, the Mill makes an excellent—if imperfect—fix.

Pros:Cons:Weight:Dimensions:Power requirements:Connectivity:Price: