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Composting Bins

Below are 4 types of Composting bins and manufactures:

The type of structure or method you choose to make compost is really a matter of personal preference.  If you are the do-it-yourself type, you may want to build your own structure using materials like wood, welded wire, concrete blocks or wooden pallets.  Pre-fabricated ready-built bins and drum turning units are also available.  Many manufactured bins are being made from recycled plastic.  If attractiveness of the bin is important, you may want to purchase a manufactured bin.

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Mobile Holding Bin

Description:

A Holding Bin is a composting bin used to hold compostable materials in place while they decompose. Turning the compost inside a holding bin is often difficult (multi-bin systems and tumbling bins are designed for ease of turning the compost). However, by using a movable bin, you can pick up the bin leaving the compost, and then pitchfork the compost into the bin’s new location, which turns the compost.

Materials:

Wood, wire, plastic, or other.

Cost:

$5 to $100, depending on type, and whether home-made or manufactured.

Effort Required:

No ongoing effort is required, but plan on minimal to medium effort to turn the compost depending on your desire for speedy decomposition.

Notes:

Compost is simply held in a bin, which can be moved. Some types are easier to turn than others. Some types offer lids and/or fine wire mesh to help exclude pest animals.

How to Get a Mobile Holding Bin:


Build-It-Yourself

  • Wooden Stackable Bin
  • Portable Wood & Wire Bin
  • Wire Bin 

Manufactured

  • Handy Composter
    $9.90 - $11.45 MSRP  (Lid available)
    Phone: 765-436-7089
  • The Compost Cage
    $9.90 to $11.45 MSRP 
  • Volcano Wire Bin
    $30.00 MSRP + s&h. 
    Phone: 972-234-4615
  • Greenculture
    (multiple bins)
    Phone: 800-233-8438 or 949-643-8795

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Stationary Bin

Description:

A Holding Bin is a composting bin used to hold compostable materials in place while they decompose. You can turn the compost by emptying out the bin and then putting the material back in the bin. You can also use aerating probes, like rebar, to allow oxygen to infiltrate the pile.

Materials:

Wood, Wire, Plastic, Concrete Block, or other.

Cost:

$20 to $150, depending on type, and whether home-made or manufactured.

Effort Required:

No ongoing effort is required, but plan on minimal to medium effort to turn the compost depending on your desire for speedy decomposition.

Notes:

With some systems, you can add a second bin next to the first to transform the single holding bin into a multi-bin system to make turning easier. (e.g., concrete block or pallet bin). Some types offer lids and/or fine wire mesh to help exclude pest animals.

How to Get a Stationary Bin:


Build-It-Yourself

Manufactured

  • Earth Machine
    $70-$90 MSRP
  • Brave New Composter
    $60-$80 MSRP
  • Seattle Composter
    CE Shepherd Co., Inc.
    (800) 324-9283
  • Earth Engine
    $118 shipping included
  • Greenculture
    (multiple bins)
    Phone: 800-233-8438 or 949-643-8795
  • The Garden Gourmet
    $59.95 MSRP .

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Multi-Bin Turning System

Description:

Multiple bins are used for ease of turning the compost. You build your pile in the first bin, when the compost is ready to turn, you move it into the second bin and start building a new pile in the first. Then you turn from the second into the third bin, and the first into the second. Eventually, you get all your compost into one bin at the end, and material in the top part of this bin cures while you harvest finished compost from the bottom of the bin.

Materials:

Wood, wood & wire, concrete block, or other.

Cost:

$100 - $250 depending on type of materials used.

Effort Required:

Low to high maintenance, depending on desired rate of decomposition.

Note:

If you get tired of turning the compost, you can use it as a holding bin. Heat and activity of process usually excludes pests.

How to Get a Multi-Bin Turning System:


Build-It-Yourself

Manufactured

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Tumblers and Drums

Description:

These units are typically a horizontally mounted barrel shaped structure. Compostable materials are placed in a drum or tumbler which is designed fore easy turning. With these units the bin does the turning. This kind of system is easy to turn and will keep the materials well aerated.

Materials:

Plastic or Metal

Cost:

$100 -$400 depending on type and whether home made or manufactured.

Effort Required:

Low for a quality system where a crank makes turning easy.

Notes:

Home-made systems may lack features such as mixing baffles that speed the process in manufactured units.   Excludes pests.

How to get a Tumbler or Drum Unit:


Build-It-Yourself

  • Rotating Drum

Manufactured

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No Bin - Sheet Composting /  Yard Waste as Mulch

Description:

Spread yard trimmings as mulch on the soil surface in areas throughout the yard.

Materials:

None.

Cost:

None

Effort Required:

Initially spread material, then no effort required, composting is slow, which is a benefit for a mulched bed.

Notes:

Using a variety of materials spread on the soil surface may not be attractive. You may have to shred materials.   For more information, see the tutorial page called "Composting Methods:  Sheet Composting".

Heap or Pile

Description:

Pile compostable materials in a heap 3-5 feet wide and 3 feet high.

Materials:

None

Cost:

None

Effort Required:

Initially build pile and add as needed. No ongoing effort is required, unless turned to speed up the compost process.

Notes:

A heap or pile may not be attractive to some people; the material tends to spread; and pests have free access.   For more information, see the tutorial page called "Composting Methods:  Heap Composting".

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Many thanks to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service/Auburn University for this information.

This page is intended to be a resource list. Vendors are encouraged to contact us with your product information, including the category for listing, MSRP, contact phone number and email or website. Our manufacturer listings will be updated periodically to include new vendors of compost bins.