Compost Bins – Comprehensive Guide

Our experienced writers spend hours deep researching, considering both scientific and experimental info to bring the insights you can trust.  

Compost bins are the general name used for containers where compost is made. However, all bins aren’t the same – some lack in the correct features needed for proper composting to occur. In this guide, we will be looking at the various types of compost bins available and how to choose one and maintain it.

Traditional compost creation techniques involve dumping kitchen waste into a heap and hoping they decompose on their own.

With a compost bin, the fermentation process is hastened, allowing you to make compost faster.

In this guide, we take a look at the various types of compost bins and how they’re operated.

What Is a Compost Bin?

A Compost bin is a conical container designed for you to place your kitchen waste and allow it to decompose while introducing elements like heat and moisture.

Compost bins come in different shapes and sizes. It involves a mix of certain ingredients which are mostly organic.

The process involved in creating composts with a bin is slightly different from the traditional heap techniques, which lack any form of housing. The advantage compost bins have is that these wastes are housed in an enclosed space.

This makes it harder for rats or other pests to come through. It’s true that composts produce a particular odor when they decompose, but the smell is concealed in a bin.

Types Of Compost Bin

Compost bins are made from different materials. And those materials are either plastic, steel, wood, metal, or stone. The size, on the other hand, depends on the amount of waste you will be decomposing.

It’s possible to make your own compost bin, but you get the best results by choosing already-made ones.

1. Plastic Compost Bin

Plastic composts, just as the name suggests, are made from plastic. Most plastic compost bins are small in size and have a tight lid that retains moisture, thereby encouraging rapid decomposition.

They also prevent weeds or any form of grass from growing. This is because they prevent light from sneaking through the compost.

Some plastic compost bins come with holes around its base to create air vents, but this isn’t necessary. This is because wide holes will pave the way for pests to jump in.

The biggest advantage plastic compost bins have is that you can quickly access the composts by hand. What you should be concerned about is that they don't create an efficient medium to drain the fluids that build up during decomposition.

2. Compost Tumblers

With a plastic compost bin, it would take almost a month or two to create a compost. But with a compost tumbler, it can be done in under 3 weeks. This is because this medium promotes proper circulation of air, moisture as well as heat.

A compost tumbler is supported by an elongated leg which takes the container off the ground. The tumbler is made from plastic barrels and is highly durable.

Compost tumblers aren’t stationary. They need to be turned using a rolling handle attached to one end of its tumbler.

So you don’t have to roll on the ground to mix its constituents. One of the downsides with this method is that you can only decompose one batch at a time.

You can’t throw in new compost while another is still in process.

Here is a quick guide on DIY compost tumbler –

3. Mesh-Made Compost Bin

This is the simplest type of compost bin yet effective (to some extent). It’s not expensive; you can make one on your own if you aren’t ready to invest in an already-made bin.

However, before you do so, you want to consider the farmyard’s size and you will use the compost.

The materials you will need to create a mesh compost bin are easy to find. You only need wire mesh, woods, and basic carpentry tools you can find in your garage.

This type of compost bin is erected in a shady area around your garden or farmyard and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space.

The problem with this compost type is obvious. First, they’re in the open, which means they’re exposed to rodent attacks.

Secondly, the odor from the compost is likely to fly around. And finally, they’re exposed to the sunshade, meaning it promotes weed growth.

If you ever need to create your own mesh compost bin, this video will be your guide:


4. Block Compost Bin

A block compost bin is made by surrounding the area where the composts are kept with blocks, stones or bricks. These materials are meant to serve as a protective wall to create a confined space for the compost.

With every other type of open-space technique, you will be able to turn the compost with your hand to create enough aeration.

They are also open spaces left in between the blocks to initiate airflow, which quickens the decomposition process.

5. Wood Compost Bin

wood compost bin

Wood compost bins are the most common type of compost and the best option for those who prefer the DIY option. Wood composts can be constructed by using wood pallets clamped together with lengths of wire.

With a wood compost bin, you can create two separate compartments so you can decompose a large volume of waste at the same time.

The problem with wood compost is that they’re very open, and the microorganisms can attack the woods, causing it to rot.

Maintenance Tips For Compost Bins

A compost bin is different from a garbage can. In the case of a garbage can, the waste is bagged before they’re trashed.

However, in a compost bin, you throw the waste indirectly; hence it’s bound to get messy when the waste is fermented.

The rule of thumb is to clean the bin before the next batch is thrown in. This prevents flies, pests, and reduces any form of foul odor.

As good practice, you might want to inspect the bin regularly to ensure there are no holes that might likely give rodents access to the waste.

Lastly, if you’re using a compost tumbler, you will have to frequently drain the fluid in the mixture to minimize offensive odor.

Compost Bin Troubleshooting Tips

On paper, producing compost with a compost bin might look easy and straightforward. For most gardeners, that’s not always the case. There are certain challenges that might occur such as compost not heating up.

If this happens, the likely cause could be that the compost is low in nitrogen or the materials are too dry for the microorganisms to decompose.

If that happens, the solution is to remove dry matter and replenish it with organic waste such as vegetables and green manure. On the other hand, the compost might become soggy emitting offensive odors.

In this case, the solution is to drain off some fluid through the spigot and add some dry matter such as hay or leaves.

There are some cases where the material might take forever to decompose. There are two reasons this might happen.

Either the materials are too coarse, or they are too large. For large materials, you might want to chop them into small pieces.

To minimize the chances of mistakes happening during composting, this video will help you achieve that:


Benefits Of Using Compost Bins

Compost bins offer so many benefits, and it goes beyond enriching the soil. Obviously, it supplies the right nutrient garden plants need to strive but they also help you put organic waste into better use.

From research, composting prevents leaching and possible erosion.

However, if you consider the fact that the compost bin encloses the compost in a confined space, it minimizes infestation or poisoning, unlike when it's in a pile. Finally, with a compost bin, pollution is minimized, and it is easy to keep a clean and serene environment.


Weed seems to be growing in my compost should I get rid of the content?

This is an indication that the compose is receiving excessive sunlight. You don’t need to get rid of the entire compost. You simply have to take out the material growing and tighten the lid.

Can I Add Soil To a Compost Bin?

You can add a small amount of soil into the bin, especially if it’s soggy. Depending on the size of the compost bin, 1-3 spadefuls will do. Excess soil isn’t entirely helpful.

Can I Add Worms To My Concrete Bin?

Worms are great for the soil since they inject nutrients. Adding worms quickens the decomposition process since they feed on foods rich in ammonia. However, you should know that most worms might not survive due to the heat in the bin.

My Compost Bin Is Filled With Ants What Can I Do?

Your compost shouldn’t have any insect sneaking through, but the lids won’t possibly keep the tiniest of them out. The presence of ants won’t cause any harm. Rather, it indicates that the compost is a bit dry and might need a little moisture.


I hope this guide helped you in understanding some important aspects of Compost bins

In case of any queries, please feel free to contact us.

Do share this info with your friends and family who are interested in composting.