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Can you make decent compost in these plastic bins?

 
pollinator
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We will be doing a workshop on composting. And I never liked these plastic bins. My gut feeling says that you cannot make decent compost in them because 1) there is not much air flow and 2) they are way too small. Councils like them.  What do you think? Does the compost get anaerobic in them? (I find them very ugly too)
 
garden master
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Without knowing what kind of plastic bins you're referring to, I'd say trust your gut feeling. It may well indeed restrict air flow and may not hold enough material to get hot.
 
Angelika Maier
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They look all the same to me. They are all small and nowehere near enough other than for a courtyard.
 
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most compost bins that work well in small sizes are tumbler types not standing types.
a Standing type bin would need to contain 4 cubic feet of material to start with since that is what it takes to get a good heat cycle going and to continue.

I do have one friend that stacked three small bins on top of each other and by doing that he got a good heat cycle going, but that meant that he had to climb a ladder with his starting materials.

I think that tumblers are the best way to go for small batch (1/3 cu. yard or less) composting, they work and they are fast so you can start more batches.

Redhawk
 
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I wouldn't spend any money on any composting contraption. If every year you pile any material you have, leaves, grass clippings, vegatative kitchen waste, including coffee grounds on the ground, you'll get an annual crop of compost. Why spend a fortune to make it a few days earlier? Last years leafs are always composted in time to pile on the new fall supply after harvesting this years compost. You mow your lawn, fill a plastic bin, mow next week, you'll need a new bin. How many bins are you going to buy? 35 weeks, 35 bins, and then you get to the leaf season. You'd need to buy these wholesale, a truck load.

Go simple, make a pile in an out of the way spot.

 
John Indaburgh
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I looked up the composting bins:

Lowes $108 WOW!

For $108 I could buy two yards of mushroom manure delivered. I get a year of benefits. I get 54 cu ft of ummmph in the garden. You buy the $108 marvel you get 7 cu ft a year later. It'd take you almost 8 years to get the production that I get by picking up my phone and yelling 2 yards of it!, please, thank you!.

If you mulch on the ground, you get the benefit of the worm industry. All those worms hauling nutrients back into the soil under the compost pile. Under the marvel you get nothing but weeds.
 
Angelika Maier
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I mysef would never ever buy such contraptions. Most of the bins here are not tumblers they are these square plastic ones and that is what the council here recommends.  They are between 150 and 400 l.It is about producing qualty compost, the stuff you want to make tea out of it.
 
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I suppose it largely depends upon the volume of waste you produce that is worth composting.  I brood my hatchlings in the basement of our house, and from that comes a decent volume of litter.  In previous years, I've cleaned them into the bushel-sized totes and placed them on the porch when my wife starts complaining about the entire house smelling like chickens.  I watered and turned them initially, and then again whenever the heat level started dropping.  It seemed to work fairly decently.  

This year, I'm doing things a little differently.  I got one of the 3' long x 1'wide x 18" deep tubs, and started it with a little soil from last year's container tomatoes.  It stays in the basement brooding area, and gets chicken litter whenever I have a surplus and can't just add more carbon.  

Because it's just my wife and I, we don't produce huge volumes of kitchen scraps, so those not chicken-worthy get added into the compost bin, and it gets watered whenever the chickens or ducks (and soon turkeys) soil their waterer too badly, adding saturated carbonaceous material to the mix.  

Because I haven't started working outside yet (another month until absolute no-frost season) the weed-eater style cultivator stays close by, and it gets thoroughly turned once or twice a week.  We're not getting crazy heat, but it's still getting into the low triple digit range.  Our dry climate, combined with winter temps, make it difficult to sustain an active compost heap off season.  This seems to work fairly well for what we need, which sometimes includes brooding-mortality disposal, as the garbage guys get cranky when you put dead animals in the trash can.  I could go down there now, and likely not find anything more than some banana tops and a few feathers.  
 
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I can’t help but notice that nobody that responded to this thread has actually used one of these types of bins!

I know it’s an older thread, but I hate to think that someone might run across it and pass on buying an excellent tool that would be perfect for their particular situation because of the comments here.

Based on 8+ years of experience with Algreen SoilSavers, the answer to the OP’s question is yes, you can make great compost with a plastic bin unit.  

I’d be happy to share more information and address some misconceptions if anybody is interested.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Elizabeth, I think it would be good for you to voice your experiences with the compost bin.

I have built and worn out 3 tumbler compost bins, currently I don't have one up and running but I will most likely build a new one over the winter.
I love the tumbler types because I can compost all our manure and bedding and get finished compost in under 30 days in the summer months.
My first was a monster, 8 feet long and 4 foot diameter, but at that time I was producing 2 cu. yards of compost materials per week.
Now that I'm way out in the country on my farm I seem to produce less materials for composting since a lot of the materials also serve as foods for our hogs, chickens and the donkey.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Elizabeth Geller wrote:I can’t help but notice that nobody that responded to this thread has actually used one of these types of bins!

I know it’s an older thread, but I hate to think that someone might run across it and pass on buying an excellent tool that would be perfect for their particular situation because of the comments here.

Based on 8+ years of experience with Algreen SoilSavers, the answer to the OP’s question is yes, you can make great compost with a plastic bin unit.  

I’d be happy to share more information and address some misconceptions if anybody is interested.



This seems like something a sales rep would say.  

Also, nobody said they had no experience.  The bins I have used and observed others using are way too small to contain a cubic meter of material, the recommended minimum for achieving thermophilic levels.  Mesophilic are fine, but can require their own set of rules for proper management.
 
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