Talk to me about: Compost Bins

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With little room in my garden and plans afoot to make more of a restricted space, I’ve been looking at compost bins.  We don’t have the time – or access to recycled materials – to make our own.

This is a 4smile 300 litre compost bin measuring 61 x 61 x 83 cms (24 x 24 x 32.5 inches) – exactly the right size for my shady border – and I need two of them.  Currently available on Amazon for £31.55 and free postage – if I order them today, they should arrive by next Saturday.

Reviews are mostly positive

  • ease of opening the hinged lid
  • ease of accessing the finished compost
  • simple to put together
  • unobtrusive colour
  • an ideal size to recycle kitchen waste for two people

Negatives are:

  • flimsy lid (doesn’t take the weight of a cat!)
  • lid needs to be propped open to fill
  • prone to blowing over until some waste is put in
  •  Can be difficult to ‘snap’ together

Is anyone currently using this particular bin (or one of a similar design)?

  • What are the positives?
  • What are the negatives?
  • Any other comments?

I’ll eventually be looking to place them within a sort of open fronted shed (all will be made clearer in a later post).

 

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5 thoughts on “Talk to me about: Compost Bins

  1. Hi. I actually have a compost bin that is almost identical to this one, save for the little door I see they have added at the bottom, so that you could scoop out the finished compost, I guess. I’ve had this compost bin for at least 15 years and rarely use it now. In fact I’d have to say I never use it unless every other compost bin of every kind is completely full and I’m just looking for somewhere to put some grass clippings or loose material.

    I believe this was the first actual “compost bin” that I obtained, and I was excited to have it. My sons snapped it together for me because it was, in fact, difficult to put together. The first problem I had with it was that animals were climbing underneath and into it, which I quickly and fairly easily corrected by lining the bottom 12 inches or so of it with pieces of steel hardware cloth pinned down to the ground. The lid of mine is made of rather sturdy and thick plastic that folds in half, so I have always just put a couple of heavy bricks on top of it to keep animals from lifting the top and climbing in.

    The main problems with this design, in my experience, are that it is waterproof and unwieldy – that is, almost impossible to turn the contents. Compost needs to be turned over every so often in a “hot” bin, and I think that pre-fab bins are always intended to be a hot compost process. Otherwise you would simply make a cold compost pile somewhere in the open. If the sides of this bin were easier to snap open and closed, maybe you could snap a side off periodically and turn the compost from the side, but it’s NOT easy to take this one apart while it’s in place, with compost inside it.

    If this one is like mine, the waterproof-ness of it – the fact that it has plastic on all sides and the top, but is open to the ground on the bottom, means that all moisture drains off into the ground and the compost material inside the bin gets very dry, very fast, which is not conducive to composting. So you must water it. And then, of course, you’d like to be able to turn it, but as I said earlier, that’s not easy. In sum, it’s hard for me to really see the advantage of this particular bin to just having a loose compost pile in the open air; in fact, I think it may actually be disadvantageous.

    I will never get rid of my compost bin that is made like this, for sentimental reasons – my sons gave it to me. But I would recommend almost any other kind of compost bin rather than this one. I use open rubbermaid storage containers with holes punched in the bottom far more often to quickly compost about the same amount of compost that this will hold. The open top of the rubbermaid container means that rain or a quick pass with the hose will keep that compost moist. But my favorite compost bin is a Jora tumbler. They are not cheap but if you keep looking you may find a used Jora for far less than new. (I saw one on Facebook Marketplace recently for $100, for example, less than a third of the retail price). I have a very old one that is still in wonderful shape and makes great compost very quickly. It is completely self-contained and would work very well inside a shed. Mine is placed under a large oak tree close to the tree trunk, out of the sun.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed comment. I see what you mean about the difficulty of keeping the compost moist. I’ll have a rethink. I wonder if yours had had a door at the bottom whether that would have made it easier to turn the compost – digging some from the bottom and throwing it in the top?
      Thanks again 🙂

    2. It’s an idea for turning, at least, but seems like it would be awkward. Compost can get heavy. Have you looked online for reviews of this particular bin?

    3. Maybe you should just go with it, then, knowing in advance that you may need to work around a couple of things. Maybe you’ll even find some helpful advice in a review somewhere for turning inside them. Or, maybe the sides on yours will snap on and off more easily. If I could snap a side off now and then, it would make turning (and removing) the compost a breeze.

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