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Eco-friendly Compost Bin: A Beginner’s Guide

Food waste is already a growing problem in the world. Why not “reuse waste” in the most effective manner? Composting is a straightforward alternative method that allows homeowners to make the most of daily organic waste. How can an eco-friendly compost bin provide nutrients to plants and enrich the garden soil? And where to find the best compost bins? Check out this ultimate buying guide from the aspects below.

Table of Contents

What is composting?

what is composting

As a beginner to composting, you have to understand what compost is. Compost is a type of organic matter that can enrich the soil and help plants grow. Fondly called by farmers “black gold,” compost is rich in nutrients and is widely applicable for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.

Composting is a natural process that decomposes and recycles organic waste such as fallen leaves and food scraps into valuable fertilizers. The natural decomposition process is a critical waste treatment method. Composting speeds up the process by providing an ideal working environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms such as worms, bed bugs, and nematodes. Even though all waste will eventually decompose, only specific waste is compostable and should be added to the kitchen or garden composter.

What to compost?

Many brown and green materials apply to composting, including food scraps, lawn trimmings, and other items.

  • fruit and vegetable peels and scraps
  • rotten fruit and veggies
  • houseplant trimmings
  • coffee grounds and paper filters
  • tea leaves
  • eggshells
  • nutshells (apart from walnuts)
  • hair and fur
  • paper, cardboard, and shredded newspaper
  • napkins, paper towels, and unused toilet paper
  • grass clippings
  • leaves
  • flowers
  • sawdust
  • wood chips

Tip: Think twice before adding citrus peels, onions, and garlic to homemade compost piles. These materials are thought to repel earthworms, which are an essential part of garden fertilizers.

What not to compost?

Not all items in the kitchen or yard can be composted in the eco-friendly compost bin. In fact, some may make the compost smell terrible and attract animals and pests, while others contain harmful compounds.

  • Pet droppings or garbage
  • Bones or residues of meat, fish and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • The leaves or twigs of the black walnut tree
  • Walnut
  • Coal ash or charcoal
  • Large pieces of wood
  • Fats, edible oils and oils
  • Insecticide-treated lawn mowing
  • Coffee beans
  • Baked food
  • Plants with pests and diseases

Why Should You Use Eco-friendly Compost Bins?

benefits of composting

Compost bins have several advantages and these lie in more than just yards. In addition to providing high-quality fertilizer for gardens and lawns, composting is also a great way to reduce the amount of rotting food and food scraps filling landfills. To some extent, using eco-friendly compost bins can be a profound step for gardeners and homeowners to move towards a greener future.

Reduce waste stream. Composting is cost-effective to recycle the organic waste we generate because food waste is a significant burden on the environment, but processing it is costly.

Help prevent erosion. Facts have proved that compost can reduce the deterioration of hills, watersides, roadsides, and even sports fields.

Promote growth. Plants and trees are healthier in areas with compost.

Reduce pollution. Compost keeps the landfill free of organic matter that reduces methane production.
Reduce toxins. Compost prevents the spread of toxic substances in the soil, such as pesticides and fuels. This makes the soil healthier and makes the plants and water in the area healthier.

Mitigating climate change.

Manage rainwater.

How Does A Compost Bin Work?

Basically, the composting process means the activity of microorganisms from the ground. They use organic kitchen waste that contains carbon and break it into pieces.

As a result, we get humus rich in fiber, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. To do their job well, these microorganisms need enough oxygen, and you need to provide oxygen by turning the compost material in the compost bin.

What Are Types of Eco-friendly Compost Bins?

Several main types of composters can be used indoors and outdoors, complicated or simple, with a couple of subcategories within them.

Compost Bins

indoor compost bin

The most basic type on the market is stationary compost bins, which look somewhat like trash bins. This kind of composter usually has a large capacity and a removable cover to protect the compost from the elements and interested animals (although these are easier to attract animals than some other options).

These composting bins decompose the compost slower than other options, and it’s necessary to keep the process going manually. It can be a bit difficult to remove and transport the compost to the garden. But they are the most affordable option, and their simplicity attracts many gardeners.

Pros

  • cheap
  • Organic matter is hidden
  • Can handle a large capacity
  • Easily drain excess moisture

Cons

  • Finished compost is not always easy to obtain
  • Difficult to turn
  • Can attract pests

Tumbling Composters

tumbling composter for the garden

The compost tumbler and rolling composter are designed to make it easier to turn over the compost regularly during the movement and mix the compost more frequently to speed up the decomposition process.

Rotating compost bins are more expensive than stationary compost bins. Although tumbling composters are generally easier to use, they may become more difficult to turn as they become heavier. However, if you want something that makes the composting process simpler and faster, and is likely to hold up to more extended use over time, then a tumbler or rolling compost bin is worth the investment.

Pros

  • Organic matter is hidden
  • Easy to turn
  • Highly insect-resistant

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy when the inside is full
  • Some models are difficult to rotate when 2/3 full

Bokashi Compost Bins

bokashi bin for the kitchen

The Bokashi bin uses microorganisms to ferment your organic waste, either buried or added to an existing compost pile. This composting bin is an anaerobic composter which means that it uses microorganisms that do not require oxygen to break down food residues. The container relies on inoculated bokashi bran “pre-fermented” food residue (including small bones, meat, dairy products, and oily food) to speed up the composting process.

Pros

  • It’s easy and fast
  • Garbage can be conveniently collected in the kitchen and will not attract insects
  • Can compost all food waste, including citrus, meat, dairy products
  • Produce bokashi juice, a rich liquid fertilizer for plant growth

Cons

  • Requires a constant supply of bokashi mix
  • Limited capacity for waste
  • Requires empty garden space to bury the waste

Worm Compost Bins

worm compost bin for sale

Vermicomposting containers allow earthworms to live in a compost bin where they can eat the kitchen scraps you throw in and convert them into nutrient-rich compost.

It’s the fastest option to use a worm composter and will not get smelly. Besides, it’s extremely low maintenance. Worm bins are generally more expensive than other options, but for those with limited yard space or who want a faster and simpler option, they are worthy of purchasing.

Pros

  • Organic matter is hidden
  • Compact, no need for a garden
  • Produce worm juice, an excellent liquid fertilizer

Cons

  • Worms need weekly care, i.e., appropriate temperature and humidity levels
  • Limited waste disposal capacity
  • Can’t accept all food waste, such as citrus, onions

12 Tips for Buying Compost Bin Container

In addition to choosing the type, there are many different factors to consider before selecting the right model.

1. Size

The first thing to consider is size. Whether indoors or outdoors, the same thing will happen: where will you put it, in a garden or a kitchen? How much space can you give it?

Generally speaking, larger eco-friendly compost bins are more expensive and more difficult to move if needed. But their capacity will be larger, so you can make more compost. If you have a lot of plants or an extensive garden, it will be important to be able to produce more compost.

2. Speed

It takes time to break down old leaves and food scraps into fertilizer. Some composting bins require more time than others.
For quick compost, a worm composting bin is your best choice. Tumbler composters are usually more affordable than worm composters and not as fast, but if you stay on top of turning them regularly will break down the compost much faster than stationary composters.

There are other factors that affect the speed of the composting process:
Color– The black composter will absorb more heat, thereby speeding up the decomposition process.

Aeration– Compost requires exposure to a certain amount of air to decompose. Therefore, the fixed dustbin should have some gaps or openings to allow air to enter. It would help if you planned to rotate the tumbler or stir the compost in the stationary bins to allow more materials to be exposed to the air. But be careful that too much airflow may mean that the compost is not hot enough to be fully cooked – which is why most tumblers are fully enclosed.

Moisture– The compost should be a bit damp, not too wet. If your compost becomes too wet or too dry, the composting process will not work effectively. Ideally, let your compost have a moisture level equivalent to a wrung-out sponge. When it becomes too dry, water it. When it becomes too wet, add some dry materials.

Carbon to nitrogen ratio– This is where composting becomes a bit more complicated. Suppose you want to use compost earlier rather than later. In that case, you need to determine the ratio of green materials (kitchen waste, grass clippings, eggshells) to brown materials (sawdust, fallen leaves, straw, branches). Experts suggest that the ratio of brown material to green material is about 30:1. If you get the wrong percentage, it will just take longer to end up with composting.

3. Price

The cost of compost bins and composters varies greatly. People who like the DIY route can throw things together cheaply or even pile up compost (even if you go this route, you risk attracting animals and dealing with unpleasant smells). But if you choose to buy an eco-friendly compost bin, you will find that it ranges from $50 for a low-end stationary composting bin to $300 for a high-end worm composter.

However, most compost bins cost between US$80-150. If you begin to wholesale compost bin containers, the price range is available for most needs between you and your customers.

When considering how much to spend, remember that composting can save you fertilizer costs and reduce the amount of waste you generate every week. Over time, your upfront costs will help you reduce expenses.

4. Ease of Use

Several main factors affect the ease of use. One is the frequency at which you have to mix or turn it and how much work is required. The stationary compost bin is challenging to integrate, and the tumbling composter usually has a lever that you can quickly turn to mix the compost. Of course, the worm bin is the simplest because you don’t have to mix the compost.

Another factor to consider is the mixture of nitrogen and carbon. This is essential if you want to speed up the process, but it may become a bit complicated, making it difficult to keep up with the progress and get enough appropriate materials at the right time. Compared with other types of eco-friendly compost bins, the worm composter is that you don’t have to worry about these things at all.

Finally, you have to consider how big a hole the composting machine will have when you need to enter the compost.

5. Durability

How durable the composting bin is usually depends more on the quality of the materials and structure used than the type of composter. In other words, when looking at reviews of various composting bins of different brands, bokashi bin, tumbler, and worm composter tend to perform better than stationary compost containers in this category.

Before buying a composting machine, the best option to determine its durability is to read user reviews carefully. If the purchased compost machine starts to have problems in the first few months or the first couple of years, and some people will even come back years later to praise a brand or particular composter for lasting a long time.

6. Ventilation

As mentioned above, a key component of the composting process is to ensure that the compost is exposed to enough air (but not too much). For this reason, most stationary and rolling composters need to have some gaps or holes to allow a little air to enter. Compost tumblers do not always include slits or holes, because the spinning process ensures that different parts of the compost get more air.

7. Pests

While most bugs that may enter your compost garden are beneficial, large animals like raccoons, possums, and rodents are not. Compost piles and some stationary bins may attract organisms, and they will mess up your compost so that you can use the garbage in the kitchen. Compost rollers and earthworm composters are usually better to prevent biological entry and reduce the risk of raccoons having to deal with cleanup (and slow down the process) after spreading compost in the yard.

8. Will the composter emit unpleasant smells?

The composting process may be smelly. The bokashi compost bins and worm composters manage to eliminate this problem. But for other types of composting options, decay is only part of the process.

Composting bins and containers made of thicker materials can reduce the odors. When opening the recycling compost bin or tumbler to add more food scraps, you may notice the smell, but you won’t smell it for the rest of the time. Nevertheless, most people still want their eco-friendly compost bin to keep a certain distance from the house to ensure safety.

9. Material

Most eco-friendly compost bins are made of plastic, which helps to absorb heat and speed up the composting process – especially when the plastic is darker in color. Some composters for the garden are made of wood, which means they will look better in your yard, but you have to worry more about decay, low decompose process, and they usually don’t have a lid to keep the animals outside.

Another factor is BPA because the compost bin to provide fertilizer for vegetables or fruits should be harmless. So, ask your supplier for a BPA-free certificate to guarantee safety for everyone.

10. Is it A Multi-bin Composter?

Many tumbler composting bins have multiple compartments, so you can fill it up while letting it cook and start filling the other side. In this way, the composting process will not be slowed down by the constant addition of new materials. Many people who compost will want one composter with two compartments or get two composters for this reason.

With a stationary waste bin, you can try to take out the completed compost from the bottom while the new material on the top continues to cook, but this is a complicated process. Two compartments or boxes side by side are much simpler.

The worm composting machine is an exception. Their design makes it very easy to remove the bottom part of the finished compost without worrying about the unfinished food residue.

11. Weight

For stationary compost bins, weight does not need much consideration. For anything you think must be moved or turned, the heavier it is, the more difficult it will be.

Before filling, consider the weight, and then imagine what it will look like when it is full. If it is difficult for you to open the composter or move it as needed, you may need to consider a lighter alternative or a plan not to fill it up.

12. Is it Easy to Assemble

Although this is only a problem, users’ satisfaction with the composter will differ shortly after purchase. This is another factor, and your best bet is to check the compost container reviews before buying to see if it might be difficult to put together.

Suppose you will handle assembly work alone or know that you are usually not good at assembly. In that case, you can avoid composting bins and containers that are notoriously difficult to handle (or ask the supplier for help in advance).

Conclusion

Composting is a relatively simple way to reduce daily waste and make plants happier. Find out which eco-friendly compost bin makes the most sense for homes/ gardens/ schools/ communities and move towards a more environmentally friendly overall.

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