Composting has become a popular means of recycling organic materials so that they can be used in beneficial ways instead of adding them to a landfill. In addition to being a great way to participate in recycling efforts, composting is also a great way to generate rich organic materials that can be added to soil for organic garden projects. Compost bins provide a simple and easy way to help people get started composting and are particularly good solutions for people who have limited living space.
Types of Compost Bins
There are a number of different types of composters on the market to meet a variety of needs and situations. Bins for composting can be built from materials that you already have around the backyard, or they can be purchased from garden supply stores, especially those that specialize in organic gardening. In some municipalities, the recycling centers provide compost bins free or at a reduced cost to encourage people to recycle their organic materials themselves.
Holding units are one of the most basic types of compost bins. These units require very little maintenance and are best suited for people who want to start a home composting project but just don’t have very much space. With holding units, the compost pile is not turned. This means the composting process is slower because of the lack of exposure to air, so you should expect to wait anywhere from six months to two years before your waste products have fully decomposed.
Portable bins are another common type of compost bins and they are very similar to the holding units but they are able to be taken apart, moved and rebuilt. Different types of materials can by used and mixed with this kind of bin. Many types of plastic portable units are available on the market to purchase or they can be constructed out of wood and wire fencing.
Compost Bins vs Compost Tumblers
One of the best types of bins is the variety called turning unit composters. These are specifically designed to facilitate easy turning of the compost pile which helps to aerate the heap. Turning units will produce fully decomposed material in a shorter amount of time because the composting process is accelerated by the improved aeration, allowing the bacteria to better do its job in the decomposition process. In addition, people like turning units because there are less odor problems because of the improved ventilation.
Turning unit composting bins can either be a set of bins or they can be a device that easily rotates or tumbles such as a barrel or a ball-type of unit. The drawback is that turning units generally cost most, are harder to build and require more space. The organic materials to be composted also need to be collected separately until enough has been gathered to fill the unit to the correct level and once it is full and the composting process begins, new materials cannot be added.
Simple heaps are an alternative for people who do not want to purchase or build composter bins. Turning a compost heap is always optional, but it should be kept in mind that the process of composting is accelerated when the waste material is turned at least a couple times a month.
You will want to locate your compost bins according to the functional needs of your family and also taking into consideration the aesthetics of the area. You should not place your compost pile near an area that you frequently use for entertaining, even if you have it screened with fencing or plants. It should be located where it gets plenty of air circulation, in a partially shady spot and near the garden area if possible.