How to buy a compost bin

March 1, 2015

Composting is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of kitchen and garden waste and save money on fertilizer for the garden. Before buying a composting container, decide which type best suits your needs.

How to buy a compost bin

Types of compost bins

Composting bins are available in a few different styles.

Kitchen compost bin: Often placed under the sink or on the counter, the kitchen compost bin holds items such as food scraps, coffee grounds, and tea leaves.

Green bin: Green bins typically hold organic kitchen and garden waste to be collected and composted at a composting facility.

Garden composter: Kept outside close to the garden area, the garden composter is for grass clippings and dead leaves.

Tumbling composter: Compost tumblers are compost bins designed to be rotated, which allows the organic materials inside to be easily mixed and aerated, leading to a faster compost time.

Worm composter: Compost worms are a great way to turn food waste into simple plant nutrients. Worm composters tend to be small and are ideal for condo or patio composting.

Compost bin features

Compost bins come in a variety of shapes, sizes, design and materials. Wood and plastic are the two most common types of material used to make a composter.

In batch composting, kitchen scraps and garden waste are added until the compost container is full and then left alone to finish breaking down. Wooden bins and tumbling composters tend to use the batch composting method. With top-to-bottom composters, material is continually added to the top of the bin and the finished compost is scooped out of a door or opening at the bottom. Moulded plastic compost bins are ideal for this method.

Factors to consider when buying a compost bin

  • Size: Do you need a large compost bin for outside, a green bin for disposal, or a decorative pot for indoors?
  • Budget: Compost bins come in a variety of price levels, but it's not necessary to spend a fortune to reap the benefits of nutrient-rich fertilizer.
  • Time: A tumbling composter will save you time turning and mixing the compost material. Composting worms will speed up the time to the finished product

Composting tips

Compost will only be as good as the material going in.

  • Kitchen scraps and grass clippings are generally high in nitrogen, helping heat up the compost pile and speed the process along.
  • Composting material should be neither too dry nor too soggy.
  • Tumble your composter or mix up the contents often to provide oxygen that helps with breakdown.
  • Too much of any one type of waste will slow the process down. Keep a good mix of green and brown garden matter along with kitchen waste.

The right compost bin can make composting easier to integrate into your busy life, leaving you with more time to enjoy the vegetables and flowers growing out of the nutrient-rich soil in your garden.

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