Types of compost bins

Garden Gourmet Composter Directions

The Garden Gourmet Composter turns vegetable scraps into compost.

  1. Select a location for your Garden Gourmet Composter on level ground. The compost bin will assemble more easily on level ground.

  2. Read the instruction manual completely before assembling the Garden Gourmet Composter. Verify that all pieces of the compost bin are included in your boxed product. Remove the plastic binding, and arrange each piece of the composter so that you can access them easily as you assemble the compost bin.

  3. Snap the lowest panels together at the U-slot to form the base of the Garden Gourmet. Measure and cut a piece of hardware cloth, and place it inside the inner lip of these panels. The Garden Gourmet does not come with this hardware cloth. You can purchase hardware cloth at any hardware store. The cloth will help to keep vermin such as rats from crawling into the compost bin to access your fresh kitchen scraps.

  4. Place the base of the compost bin in the location where your composter will stand. Insert anchor stakes through the base and into the ground. Slide the side panels into place over the base of the composter. The side panels are assembled in pieces to create vents for your compost in the side of the composter. There will be four quarter-sized panels that you place near the bottom front of the compost bin to form a doorway for removing your compost from the structure. Once you slide these four quarter panels into place with two on each side of the front, continue to add full sized panels over them to form the front wall of the composter.

  5. Slide the door panel into the door panel slot in the front of the Garden Gourmet Composter. The door will slide down to cover the doorway. Place the lid on top of the compost bin to finish the structure, and remove the tape that secures the door in the center of the lid.

  6. Drop organic compostable items such as kitchen scraps, dead leaves, grass clippings, peat moss and garden refuse into the lid of the Garden Gourmet Composter. Pour the accelerator into the compost to start the composting process.

  7. Stir the compost once weekly with the winged aerator.

  8. Lift the door and remove the compost with a shovel from the bottom of the compost bin when all of the large compost items have broken down and become loam.

Garden Gourmet Composter assembly instructions

At 08:17 PM 05/20/1999 EDT, Tracie wrote: >Could you possibly type out just enough to get me started, as you said, I >could probably figure it out from there. I sure would appreciate it. It’s >kind of like getting a new toy for Christmas and not getting any batteries Ok, here are the assembly instructions for the Garden Gourmet composter. You should have the following pieces: 1 lid 1 door 4 anchor stakes 20 full panels 4 half panels (They’re the same width as the full panels but half the height.) 4 quarter panels (They’re the same height as the full panels but very short.) 1. Place 2 half panels (with u-slots facing up) to form the front and rear sides of the base. Connect them with 2 full panels be aligning their U-slots and snapping them into place. Insert anchor stakes through the corner holes and into the ground. 2. Place 2 quarter panels about the front half panel to form the doorway and then add 1 full panel about the rear half panel. 3. Add 2 full panels to the sides and then 1 full panel to the rear. Add the 2 remaining quarter panels above the first set. 4. Add 1 full panel to each of the 4 sides to complete the doorway. 5. Continue to add the remaining full panels to all sides. Then complete the enclosure by adding the last 2 half panels to the front and rear sides. 6. Slide the door panel into the slots on either side of the side containing the door opening. 7. Position the lid on top and start composting! I hope this works for you. Leslie ——————————————————————— To sign-off this list, send email to [email protected] with the message text UNSUBSCRIBE PERENNIALS

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A Place to Rot: The Modern Farmer Guide to Compost Bins

Why can’t I just build a pile on the ground, you ask? Well, you certainly can. But social graces, at least in urban areas, dictate that we conceal our compost (not everyone wants to see it or smell it). A bin also keeps dogs and raccoons from spreading compost across the yard. And modern bins have all sorts of bells and whistles that make it a little easier convert your kitchen waste to plant food.

We’ve divided up the options based on different living situations.

Apartment

When you’re short on space, a worm bin is the way to go. This is essentially a container the size of a suitcase (plastic storage bins are often used for DIY worms bins) that houses thousands of wriggling red composting worms that eat your food scraps, along with the diet of shredded newspaper.

You can keep the bin on a balcony, patio, or deck (out of direct sun is best), or indoors in a kitchen cabinet or utility closet. Heck, you can even stick it in the corner of the living room – some pre-fab worm bins are designed to look like a chic piece of furniture. (Don’t worry, the worms can’t escape into your home.) And when functioning properly, the bins are virtually odorless.

It’s also easy enough to make your own worm bin – we tell you exactly how here – but there are a variety of designs available at garden centers and online suppliers if you’re looking for a ready-made solution. Most store-bought models are designed with stackable layers that keep fresh kitchen waste, where the worms like to hang out, separate from the finished compost – technically known as “worm castings” (aka worm poo) – making it much easier to collect and use. They also come with a spigot at the bottom to collect “compost tea” – perfect for houseplants.

You’ll probably find one of the standard plastic worm bins at your local garden center, but more attractive wooden versions are available online. If your worm bin doesn’t come with worms, you can buy them by the pound online and have them shipped to your doorstep.

The Downside: It takes a bit of TLC to keep the worms happy. You need to monitor conditions in the bin regularly, so if you travel a lot, this may not be the best option for you.

Small Urban Lot

We recommend a compost tumbler for small yards. They are self-contained, keeping the critters out and the compost area tidy. The rotating drum keeps the compost inside well-aerated, which helps to reduce odor and accelerates the conversion of kitchen scraps to black gold.

Compost tumblers come in various sizes; choose one that matches your family size. Many have gears that make it easier to turn the tumbler. Beware tumblers in which the bin is mounted vertically, as these are very difficult to turn when full.

Put the tumbler in a shady, out of the way spot in your yard. You’ll need a supply of leaves, straw, grass clippings, or other sources of organic matter on hand to throw into the tumbler every time you add kitchen scraps. A cylindrical container out made with 36” wire fencing is an easy way to keep these materials contained.

The Downside: For their size, tumblers are typically more expensive than compost bins designed to sit on the ground. And with a relatively small opening on the side of the bin, harvesting finished compost from a tumbler is a bit awkward.

Large Suburban Yard

If you’re not short on space, we suggest a three-bin system. The idea here is to build your pile on the ground with walls on the sides to keep the contents from spilling out. With this approach, it’s much easier to turn the compost (with a pitchfork or a special compost turning tool) – helpful for aeration – and to harvest the finished product.

Having three bins gives plenty of space to store extra leaves and other compost materials, and allows you to have multiple piles going at once – which especially helpful if you have large quantities of kitchen waste, garden scraps, or even litter from a backyard chicken coop to compost. Once one bin is full, start a new pile in the next bin while the original pile continues to decompose.

For a DIY approach, check out our step-by-step instructions for building a three-bin system with used pallets. There are also plenty of pre-fab options available from garden supply companies, including wire mesh models and beautiful cedar bins.

The Downside: Being open to the air, odors may be an issue with the three-bin approach (check out our Secrets to Perfect Compost guide for tips on how to prevent foul smells). Critters can also be an issue. To keep out dogs and raccoons, simply lay a piece of wire mesh, cut to the size of the bin, on top of the pile.

Which type of compost bin is best?

Composting is an environmentally friendly way of recycling kitchen and garden waste. It also creates a free soil conditioner that will improve your soil and therefore the health of your garden.

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The type of compost bin you use will depend on the size of your plot, and the amount of compost you want to make. Here are four options.

Composting creates a free soil conditioner that will improve your soil and therefore the health of your garden.

Homemade bins

You can make a DIY bin using wooden pallets or corrugated iron. Enclosing the sides will retain heat, speeding up the rotting process. The larger the pile, the more heat. The ideal minimum size is 1m x 1m and, ideally, make more than one – it makes the compost easier to turn. Watch Monty turn his compost.

A compost bin made of corrugated iron and pallet wood

Plastic bin

A plastic compost bin is ideal for a small space. The plastic sides and lid retain moisture and heat to encourage rapid decomposition. They also block out light to stop weeds regrowing. The bin should ideally be placed on grass or earth.

Turning compost from plastic compost bins

Hot bin

Insulated with a close-fitting lid, hot composting bins are designed to allow decomposition at a much higher temperature and a higher speed (30-90 days, compared to around six months for ordinary compost) and results in a finer compost. They are roughly size of a wheelie bin and can stand on a hard surface.

Adding green garden waste to a hot compost bin

Wormeries

These are designed for the small-scale composting of kitchen waste. Worms mix and break down the compost quickly and produce a nutrient-rich liquid for use as a fertiliser. Compost worms can also be added to larger bins. Not all waste can be composted, so you’ll still need a compost bin too.

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Want to find out more about composting? Follow our four key tips for better compost.

Adding veg peelings to a wormery

Getting the right mix

Good compost should be made from a 2:1 ratio of ‘brown’ ingredients (woody material or paper and cardboard) and ‘green’ – soft plant tissues such as deadheaded flowers or grass clippings.

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Enclosed Bins

Composting at its most basic. Made of recycled black plastic, so there’s nothing to rot or rust.

Best For: Growers with limited space. Neat appearance and low cost make this the most popular composter available. Ideal for kitchen scraps and a limited amount of yard waste (11cf).

Advantages: Low maintenance, for example, you don’t have to turn a holding unit. Lid keeps rain off the contents and helps deter animals. Black color absorbs heat – enhancing the decomposition process.

Downsides: Low maintenance means the process can take longer. Composting can take from six months to one year using this kind of container. Decomposition can occur quickly if aerated.

Purchase a kitchen pail or crock from Planet Natural and there’s no need to run out to the pile after each meal – just lift the lid and toss-in table scraps. They’re fitted with activated carbon filters to eliminate odors and look great too!

Rolling Bins

As the name implies, a rolling bin can be rolled to your yard waste, loaded up and then rolled away. A quick tumble every day or two mixes and aerates the pile, eliminating the need to aerate with a pitchfork or aerating tool.

The Bio-Orb is a large capacity, rolling composter that makes it easy to recycle yard clippings and organic scraps into rich, soil-building humus. Just fill it and roll it! The spherical shape maximizes heat retention for faster composting and allows for easy mixing and mobility.

Best For: Homeowners and others with sufficient space. Eliminates unsightly refuse piles and can be rolled out of sight when not in use. Use to recycle yard clippings and vegetable scraps. Ideal for an average sized yard or garden (13.5cf).

Advantages: Low maintenance, plus they make aerating the pile easy. Lid keeps rain off the contents and helps deter animals. Made of recycled plastic and easy to assemble. The spherical shape maximizes heat retention for faster decomposition.

Downsides: Fully loaded bins can become heavy and difficult to roll.

Tumblers

One notch up on the evolutionary scale from the spherical and enclosed bins, compost tumblers are designed so that they turn their contents easily.

A household size composter for daily amounts of kitchen and household throwouts — finished compost in 4-6 weeks! The Back Porch ComposTumbler is great for your deck, porch, right outside your kitchen door or next to your recycling bin.

Best For: Homeowners with limited space that are willing to invest in a tumbling system. Neat appearance and quick composting times make these units a popular choice.

Advantages: Energy-efficient design is relatively easy to aerate. Supplies bacteria with the oxygen it needs and consequently speeds up decomposition. Available in various sizes, small to large. Lid keeps rain off the contents and helps deter animals. Drums usually sit off the ground — less bending!

Downsides: Once these units are full and the decomposition process begins, you have to wait before adding additional materials.

With the right composting equipment turning table scraps into valuable vermicompost is a cinch! Planet Natural supplies everything you need to get started: worms, a container and “”bedding.” Plus books that tell you just how to do it. Now let’s rot!

Worm Bins

Using redworms to compost is a convenient way to dispose of kitchen scraps and turns them into a rich, organic soil conditioner known as worm castings. If you supply the right ingredients and care, your worms will thrive!

As seen on The Martha Stewart Show! The Can O Worms provides a quick, odorless and space efficient way to convert kitchen scraps into rich, crumbly vermicompost. Contains 3 large capacity working trays — no need to purchase additional trays!

Best For: Homeowners and apartment dwellers with limited space. Use to convert kitchen scraps into rich, crumbly castings and worm tea, a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer.

Advantages: Worm bins can be located anywhere from under the kitchen sink to outdoors or in your garage. Once up and running they require very little maintenance. Stacking tray design allows the worms to “eat their way up” to their food, leaving their nutrient dense castings behind.

Downsides: Temperatures need to be considered. Ideally a worm bin should be located in an area where the temperatures are between 40-80˚F. In cold climates, bring your bin inside during the winter to avoid freezing. In hot climates, keep it wet and cool. On occasion, unpleasant odors may waft from the container when it’s overloaded with table scraps. If this occurs, stop adding food until the redworms have had a chance to break down what is left in the bin.

Alternatives to Bins

Heaps or Piles

The lazy man’s entrée into composting. If you don’t want to build or purchase a bin, simply start heaping your organic materials in a corner of the yard.

Best For: People with adequate outdoor space and who are willing to invest time — if not in building a bin — then in turning their heap or pile.

Downsides: If not properly aerated, heaps can take a long time to decompose. Since they are not enclosed, they can also attract pests if you’re not careful.

Click on Step-By-Step Instructions to Build a Compost Pile for more information.

Pit Composting

Uses shallow pits dug in the ground as opposed to above-ground structures. The pit should be no less than 18 inched deep, 3 feet wide and any length. This method produces high temperatures and relatively quick decomposition.

Best For: People who want to contain and shelter the compost pile. Minimal investment is required, except for time.

Downsides: Requires regular maintenance or anaerobic conditions can take over quickly due to poor ventilation. Only small amounts of organic waste can be used at one time.

Learn more about pit composting here.

Sheet Composting

Definitely an activity that’s best done in the fall. Simply put, you place a thin layer of raw materials, such as leaves, and incorporate by raking it into the soil of your garden. Over the course of the winter, the material will break down into “garden gold.”

Best For: People with large gardens who aren’t afraid to experiment.

Downsides: Using your garden as your “bin” means tying up the nitrogen which your plants normally would use. That means you have to do this in the fall when your garden is fallow.

Visit the UC Master Gardeners of Napa County for more about the benefits and concerns of sheet composting.

Related Questions

  • What products to compost

    Hello,

    You will be able to source all of the essential elements in order to build a great compost pile without having to look too far! As long as your carbon to nitrogen ratio is optimal (25-30:1) your compost pile will be breaking down properly. Here are some lists of acceptable additions:

    Carbon Rich Material “Browns”
    Cardboard (free of dyes)
    Corn stalks
    Fruit waste
    Leaves
    Newspaper
    Peat Moss
    Saw dust
    Stems & twigs
    Straw

    Nitrogen Rich Material “Greens”
    Alfalfa/Clover/Hay
    Algae
    Coffee grounds
    Kitchen food waste
    Garden waste
    Grass clippings
    Hedge clippings
    Manures
    Vegetable scraps
    Weeds (that have NOT gone to seed)

    ​Things to Avoid
    Meats
    Bones
    Fats/oils/grease
    ​Diseased plant material
    Colored paper
    Coal/charcoal
    Cat/dog waste
    Manures from carnivorous animals
    Onions
    Garlic
    Citrus peels

    As for the rhododendron and holly leaves, you can definitely put them in your compost pile. However, it is a good idea to really chop or shred them up, as they take much longer to break down due to their fibrous and waxy make up. It really depends on how quickly you are trying to create usable compost. It might be a good idea to have a separate pile going that you incorporate those leaves into and another pile that you do not. That way you can have a pile you know will rapidly break down into garden goodness and have yet another ready to use later on. Good luck!

  • Can I compost diseased plants?

    Hello,

    There are nearly 7,000 estimated different species of rust causing pathogenic fungi. Although many of those would be destroyed when your compost pile reaches the ideal temperature (135-150 degrees Fahrenheit), some of them would not. Those thermophilic fungi would not be eradicated until the pile reached temperatures over at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit and at that point the heat would also cause a loss of nutrients and destroy most of the beneficial microbes. Therefore, it would be wise to avoid composting the infected leaves so that you do not spread the disease. You can opt for burning the leaves but do not bury them and be sure to also disinfect any gardening tools that came into contact with the pathogen. Here’s a couple of links that will help:

    Good luck!

  • what not to compost

    Hi Jania –

    There is an active ingredient in citrus call “limonene” that has the potential to kill your worms if added to your pile in large concentrations. For a small home wormery I would recommend adding citrus peels 1 at a time and wait until it is thoroughly decomposed before adding more.

    Good Luck!

  • Can I Compost Tomatoes?

    Ennia –

    Honestly, we’ve never really thought much about composting tomatoes… So, we wrote a blog post on the subject! Here it is:

    Enjoy!

  • Can I compost paper?

    Joy –

    I think the basic rule of composting applies here… “When in doubt, leave it out.” You certainly don’t want to be adding toxic materials, if any, to your compost pile. As for composting paper, the following link will help:

10 Best Compost Bins in 2020

What is a Compost Bin?

Composting is a great activity for anyone looking to become a bit more eco-friendly, improve the health of their garden, or eliminate the cost of buying chemical fertilizers. Instead of throwing scraps of food waste like that old bag of salad, apple peels, eggshells, coffee grinds, and cut up produce in the trash, you render them into reusable, nutrient-rich soil that delivers amazing benefits to your lawn and garden. Plus, you can even throw in other household organic gardening materials like weeds, grass clippings, dead leaves, and shreds of newspaper.

Years ago, if you wanted to make compost, your only option was to make a compost pile in your yard. While this was effective, it wasn’t exactly practical. Pests and rodents could easily get into the heap of waste on your lawn. You can move the waste into a new composter bin with the help of a great wheelbarrow. Plus, a decomposing pile of debris wasn’t exactly the first thing you wanted to see when you went into your backyard. Thankfully, there are now several types of compost bins that you can pick up online or at most hardware stores.

While there are a few different types presently on the market like bins, tumblers, and even worm compost bins (worm factory’s), the general concept is the same. These bins are plastic or metallic structures that are built to contain your compost. These outdoor bins are designed to nurture the decomposition process through moisture retention and aeration.

Built with the goal of promoting the ideal combination of moisture and air, these composting containers facilitate the activity of the small organisms and microbes that decompose your household scraps and waste, rendering them into nutrient-rich compost.

Plus, compost bins are enclosed structures. This means that you can use them in your yard or on your deck without having an unsightly pile of compost out in the open. And since most models are designed from durable materials and feature a lid, you don’t have to worry about pests like mice, rats, or raccoons getting into your trash and making a mess. If they do, a rat poison might be the next cause of action. These devices are also incredibly easy to use. Some models, like compost bins, are relatively hassle-free.

You simply toss your scraps in continuously and let nature take its course. And even the more labor-intensive tumbler composter simply requires you to tumble the pile by turning a handle once a day. But before you start throwing all of your trash into your new compost bin, let’s take a look at what materials you can throw into your compost pile.

How Does a Compost Bin Work?

Compost bins are pretty simple in design and allow organic food materials to decompose, rendering them into a nutrient-rich, natural fertilizer that you can use on your plants and lawn. The end result of all composters is the dark, rich, earthy, clumpy mixture that you can add to your garden’s soil to boost the health of your plants and the fertility of your soil. But how this process occurs actually depends on the kind of compost bin that you have.

While the process varies based on the style of composter, the following items are universal. You need a proper mixture of carbon-rich materials like newspaper shreds, dead leaves and flowers, and straw and nitrogen-rich materials like green grass clippings, fruit and vegetable peels and waste, coffee grounds, and eggshells. You’ll also need to add a few shovels of your garden soil and introduce oxygen every once in a while by turning the pile over.

If you follow these steps and add enough water to keep the pile moist but not oversaturated, you’ll end up with compost. There are several types of compost bins. The most common is a simple compost bin. These composting containers are designed to hold large amounts of household waste neatly and feature lids to keep pesky vermin out. You continuously toss new waste on top of the pile and occasionally turn the pile over with a pitchfork.

As microbes eat away at the organic gardening matter and heat builds up during the decomposition process, nutrient-rich compost will be created, though it will take a few months. Barrel and tumbling composters are smaller models that can be mounted on a turning-like mechanism or can be manually rotated. You simply add your household waste into the container as a single batch and turn it over daily for aeration and mixing.

The fully-sealed composting containers will create hot compost that bakes quicker for faster results. And by turning it daily, all of the ingredients will be integrated with oxygen so the microbes keep the decomposition process moving along. The end result is frequent, small batches of ready-to-use compost. The final type of compost bin that you can buy is the worm compost bin (worm bins or worm factory’s). Worm composting, or vermicomposting, uses earthworms to make compost.

You simply fill a plastic bin with brown compost, worms, and kitchen compost scraps and then just let the worms eat through the waste. As the worms excrete waste, the result is rich compost that you can use for your plants and garden.

How Do You Start a Compost Pile?

Starting a compost pile doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s a pretty easy process. And if you’re wondering why you should start a compost pile, the answer to that question is surprisingly simple as well. Composting is one of the most vital things you can do to boost the health and fertility of your garden or lawn, efficiently get rid of kitchen and yard scraps, and eliminate the expense of chemical fertilizers that really aren’t that great to use on your fruits and vegetables anyway.

The first step is to start collecting materials to put in your compost pile. You can use a variety of organic waste products normally found in your yard and in the kitchen. From outdoors, you can gather weeds, dead leaves, plant and grass clippings, and other garden waste. From inside your home, just collect kitchen waste in a bucket that you’ll designate for organic kitchen waste. Collect kitchen waste items from fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, and even newspaper shreds.

Empty your indoor bucket daily, dumping it onto your compost pile. Then, to eliminate unwanted household odors, rinse the bucket out before bringing it back into the kitchen. As the amount of household waste begins to pile up in your compost bin or pile, nature will begin taking over and, if you’re patient, in a few months you’ll have nutrient-rich compost at the bottom of the pile that you can spread on your garden and lawn.

Finding the Right Compost Bin

Every experienced gardener knows that the secret to having a beautiful, healthy garden is to use compost for fertilization. This nutrient-rich compost garden supplies fruits and vegetables with essential nutrients and pH-balanced soil while protecting them against drought and disease. While some homeowners still use open piles of compost, it’s becoming increasingly popular to use a store-bought compost bin.

These helpful alternatives help to make the job a bit less messy while keeping your yard neater and animals out. But the important thing to consider is what kind of composter is right for you. For a smaller amount of waste and a faster turnaround, a compact compost tumbler is a great option. They can handle one batch of scraps at a time and can quickly render organic matter into compost. For larger amounts of refuse, a compost bin is perfect.

These models might take up more space and take longer to produce usable compost but they can handle a lot of scraps and you can continuously add more waste on top of the heap. Whichever model you choose, you’ll enjoy the benefit of using organic fertilizer for your home garden instead of costly and unnatural chemical fertilizing products. Plus, you’ll be doing your part for a cleaner, better environment.

Expert Tip

If you want to render truly amazing compost, make sure to add some grass clippings and brown materials to your compost pile. The grass clippings will add essential nitrogen while the dead leaves or newspaper shreds will add carbon. By making sure that each batch is balanced with a small amount of these ingredients, the decomposition process will be quicker and your compost soil will have the right nutrients for your garden. Read more about waste management and compost bins here.

Did You Know?

You can even continue the composting process in the dead of winter. While the cold can slow down the decomposition process, there are ways to help the process move along. Simply place your compost in your bin and make sure that the container stays in as much direct sunlight as possible. For further insulation, you can even surround your compost bin with hay bales to help regulate the internal temperature. This means that recycling your household waste and scraps don’t have to be a seasonal practice. Make recycled plastic your remit with the best composter in the world!

Make sure to practice health & safety while composting with the help of this study.

At-home composters are an excellent way to give new life to your kitchen scraps and yard waste, while creating nutrient-rich soil amendment and liquid fertilizer for your lawn and garden.

The biggest concern for backyard composters is keeping children and wildlife out of the bin, which can create a big, smelly mess. Most models come with a twist-locking lid or latching system in order to prevent this, but not all do. You’ll also want to look for models that are made of “food-safe” materials if you intend to spread the compost on a food-growing garden area.

There are a few different model styles when it comes to choosing a composter: stationary, tumbling, and those that use worms in order to break down organic matter. Which style you select will depend on your space, needs, and budget.

Stationary models are often the most affordable, but you’ll need to do most of the work yourself turning over the organic matter, and they tend to be stinky. Once they’re set up you won’t be able to easily move it, so think carefully about placement. They can take up to a year before producing usable compost.

Tumbling models will cost a bit more than standard stationary versions, but will allow you to create compost in less time and without the hassle of manually turning over all your organic materials. They’re easy to set up and are often portable, making placement a cinch.

Worm-based composting systems are ideal for use indoors as they don’t produce much if any odor, however, you cannot compost certain materials including meats, dairy, or citrus. You’ll also need to acquire a specific type of worm (red wiggler) as common earthworms are not suitable for this purpose.

With the above information in mind, here are 45 of the composters that we consider to be the best, based on available features and average customer ratings and reviews.

Outdoor

1. Yimby Tumbler Composter

This popular composter boasts a dual chamber design that allows you to easily fill one side with food and yard scraps while the other side is curing, ensuring a steady supply of compost. It boasts built-in hand holds and is supported on a metal stand for convenient mixing of waste.

Key features:

  • 37-gallon capacity
  • Creates compost in as little as 2 weeks
  • Air vents are adjustable

2. Good Ideas EZCJR-BLK 7-Cubic-Foot Compost Wizard Jr.

This outdoor composter boasts a BPA-free post-industrial polyethylene construction that is 100% recycled material and is designed to stand up to all sorts of weather conditions. It is safe for use in homes with children and pets and is made in the USA with FDA-approved materials.

Key features:

  • 7-cubic foot capacity
  • Integrated wheel base for easy turning
  • Recessed handles for a streamlined look

3. The Most Beautiful Composter in the World, Envirocycle Composter

Available in a choice of two different sizes to suit any home’s composting and space needs, this outdoor composter boasts a striking design that is BPA-free and safe to use in homes with children. It will provide your garden with rich compost material in just 4-8 weeks.

Key features:

  • 35-gallon capacity
  • Base collects compost tea
  • Made in the USA

4. Geobin Compost Bin

This outdoor compost bin boasts an adjustable diameter size and is 36″ tall to provide a custom — and economical — solution to your family’s composting needs. It features an easy to assemble design that is also easy to relocate if necessary.

Key features:

  • 216-gallon capacity
  • 50% recycled post-consumer plastic
  • Sets up in just minutes

5. Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter

Available in a choice of three different colors to suit any outdoor decor, this composter comes complete with four trays (can expand up to eight) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly.

Key features:

  • Quick tips and instructional DVD included
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round

6. Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin

This compost bin boasts a durable and long lasting resin construction that is suitable for use outdoors and comes complete with integrated ventilation holes to allow for proper composting. It features four doors around the bin for easy access to your finished compost and a lift-off lid for convenient access when adding material to the bin.

Key features:

  • 65-gallon capacity
  • Easy to assemble, guide included
  • Made in New Zealand

7. Worm Factory DS3GT 3-Tray Worm Composter

Available in a choice of three different colors to suit any outdoor decor, this composter comes complete with three trays (can expand up to seven) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly.

Key features:

  • Quick tips and instructional DVD included
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round

8. VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin

This compost bin uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and comes complete with five working trays (expandable up to seven) to keep worms, worm casings, and compost separate.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round
  • 3 year warranty

9. Suncast TCB6800 6.5 Cubic Foot Tumbling Composter

This outdoor composter boasts a barrel-shaped design that comes complete with a galvanized steel stand for convenient loading and spinning. It features a durable and long lasting resin construction that is weather-resistant and dual latching lids for easy access.

Key features:

  • 6.5-cubic foot capacity
  • Creates compost in 3-4 weeks
  • Made in the USA

10. The Cutest Composter in the World, Envirocycle Mini Composter

Available in a choice of two different sizes to suit any home’s composting and space needs, this outdoor composter boasts a striking design that is BPA-free and safe to use in homes with children. It will provide your garden with rich compost material in just 4-8 weeks.

Key features:

  • 17-gallon capacity
  • Base collects compost tea
  • Made in the USA

11. Lifetime 60028 65-Gallon Compost Tumbler

This outdoor composter boasts heavy duty black panels and a powder coated steel frame for years of weather-resistant outdoor usage. Thanks to the internal mixing bar, compost is broken down into a fine material for easier spreading in your garden.

Key features:

  • 65-gallon capacity
  • Well-balanced, easy to turn
  • 5 year warranty

12. Sunwood Life Bokashi Compost Kit

This outdoor composter allows you to quickly and easily turn your kitchen scraps into rich organic fertilizer for your lawn and garden and comes complete with everything you need to get up and running. It even includes a collection pail for use in your kitchen.

Key features:

  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Creates compost in as little as 2 weeks
  • Compost tea collection cup included

13. Good Ideas CWET-BLK Compost Wizard EnviroTumbler

This outdoor composter boasts BPA-free materials and a durable and environmentally-friendly 100% recycled polyethylene plastic construction. It comes complete with integrated air vents, and a wheeled base for ease of turning and aeration. It comes completely assembled for ease of use.

Key features:

  • 6.5-cubic foot capacity
  • 1 year warranty
  • Made in the USA

14. Fiskars 75-Gallon Eco Compost Bin

This outdoor compost bin boasts an economical price point and features a collapsible, spring-loaded design that makes it quick and easy to set up and relocate where desired. The round shape and open-bottom design allows for even heat distribution and access to worms and various microorganisms.

Key features:

  • 75-gallon capacity
  • Collapses for convenient storage
  • Windproof lid and anchoring stakes included

15. Mantis CT02001 Compact ComposTumbler Compost Bins

This compost bin boasts a fully enclosed drum with integrated air vents and moisture drainage holes that allow you to create nutrient-rich compost in just weeks. It has been designed to keep pets and wildlife out, to help cut down on mess and features a long lasting, rust-resistant galvanized steel construction.

Key features:

  • 88-gallon capacity
  • 1 year warranty
  • Made in the USA

16. Worm Factory DS5TT 5-Tray Worm Composter

Available in a choice of three different colors to suit any outdoor decor, this composter comes complete with five trays (can expand up to seven) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly.

Key features:

  • Quick tips and instructional DVD included
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round

17. Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin + Moisture and pH Testing Meter

This composter comes complete with four trays (can expand up to eight) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly. It comes complete with a moisture and pH testing meter to help you create compost with less effort.

Key features:

  • Quick tips and instructional DVD included
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round

18. Good Ideas Soil Machine PRO Bins

This outdoor composter boasts BPA-free materials and a durable and environmentally-friendly 100% recycled polyethylene plastic construction. It comes complete with integrated air vents, and a wheeled base for ease of turning and aeration. The twist-locking lid offers a secure way to keep kids and pets out of the bin.

Key features:

  • 7-cubic foot capacity
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Made in the USA

19. Exaco 628001 Eco-Master Polypropylene Composter

This outdoor composter boasts an eco-friendly 100% recycled uv-resistant polypropylene construction that is durable and weather-resistant. It comes complete with a latching lid that provides protection from pets, children, and the wind.

Key features:

  • 120-gallon capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Bottom withdrawal flap

20. Dual Batch Compost Tumbler 100% Recycled Plastic Outdoor Compost Bin

This composter boasts a dual chamber design that allows you to easily fill one side with food and yard scraps while the other side is curing, ensuring a steady supply of compost. Each bin rotates separately and the unit is supported on a durable steel stand for convenient mixing of waste.

Key features:

  • 44-gallon capacity
  • 100% recycled black polypropylene construction
  • Integrated drainage holes

21. YIMBY 6 Cubic Feet Tumbling Composter RM4000

This outdoor composter boasts a durable and UV-resistant recycled plastic construction which absorbs heat to speed up the composting process. It’s mounted to a sturdy galvanized steel frame for ease of turning.

Key features:

  • 6-cubic foot capacity
  • Rodent-proof design
  • Creates rich compost in just weeks

22. Worm Factory DS4BT 4-Tray Worm Composter

Available in a choice of three different colors to suit any outdoor decor, this composter comes complete with four trays (can expand up to seven) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly.

Key features:

  • Quick tips and instructional DVD included
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round

23. Exaco Aerobin 400 Insulated Composter and Self Aeration System

This innovative composter is fully insulated for use year round and boasts a patented self-aeration system that requires no turning to create nutrient-rich garden compost. The heavy duty design has been made to withstand use in all sorts of weather conditions and won’t tip over even in strong winds.

Key features:

  • 14-cubic foot capacity
  • Integrated compost tea collection base
  • Removable side access door

24. VermiHut 5-Tray Recycled Plastic Worm Composter

This compost bin uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and comes complete with five working trays (expandable up to seven) to keep worms, worm casings, and compost separate.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round
  • Odorless design

25. Single Bin Wire Composter

This outdoor composter offers an affordable solution to your family’s composting needs and boasts a durable and long lasting heavy-gauge, powder-coated steel construction. It comes complete with plastic clips to hold the panels together.

Key features:

  • 16-cubic foot capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Open-bottom design

26. VermiHut 3-Tray Worm Compost Bin with Free Claw

This compost bin uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and comes complete with three working trays (expandable up to seven) to keep worms, worm casings, and compost separate.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble, odorless design
  • Suitable for use indoors or outdoors, year round
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea

27. Leisure Season CB2730 Compost Bin

This outdoor composter boasts a beautiful stained moisture-resistant wood design that won’t visually detract from your outdoor space. The separated slats allow for proper aeration without creating spillage while the flip-up bottom panel allows convenient access to your nutrient-rich compost.

Key features:

  • Open-bottom design
  • Easy to install
  • Cover included

28. Good Ideas CW-2X12 Senior Wizard Dual Tumbler Compost Bin

This outdoor composter boasts a dual chambered design for maximizing compost production and features a durable and environmentally-friendly 100% recycled polyethylene plastic construction that is BPA-free. The twist-locking lid offers a secure way to keep kids and pets out of the bin.

Key features:

  • 11-cubic foot capacity
  • 1 year warranty
  • Made in the USA

29. Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

This outdoor composter boasts a durable and eco-friendly 100% recycled plastic construction in a dark color to help retain heat for increased compost production. It comes complete with two twist-locking vented lids at either end that are both animal- and child-resistant.

Key features:

  • 50-gallon capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Creates compost in less than a month

30. Bluestone 80-Gallon Master Composter

This outdoor composter boasts a durable and long lasting 100% recycled UV-resistant polypropylene construction that is weather-resistant. It comes complete with secure wind-proof lid latches and an easy-to-access folding bottom compost door.

Key features:

  • 80-gallon capacity
  • Tool-less assembly
  • Made in Germany

31. Miracle Gro DC270MG Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter

This composter boasts a dual chamber design that allows you to easily fill one side with food and yard scraps while the other side is curing, ensuring a steady supply of compost. Each bin rotates separately and the unit is supported on a durable steel stand for convenient mixing of waste.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Internal mixing bar
  • Easy-slide access doors

32. Good Ideas ECG3-DAR English Composting Garden Bin

Available in a choice of three different colors to suit nearly any backyard decor, this unique unit provides a visually-appealing place to grow plants, while turning your kitchen scraps and yard waste into compost at the same time. The internal composting chamber provides the plants with a steady stream of nutrients.

Key features:

  • Can be stacked or placed side-by-side
  • Integrated drain holes help prevent root rot
  • Durable, weatherproof plastic construction

33. Nature’s Footprint WF360 Worm Factory 360 Composter 4 Tray

This outdoor composter comes complete with four trays (can expand up to seven) for making nutrient-rich compost at home. It uses the power of worms to break down kitchen scraps and is odorless when used correctly.

Key features:

  • Durable, post-consumer recycled plastic construction
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • 5 year warranty

34. Vermikashi Bokashi Compost Kit – Base Model

This basic composter kit comes complete with everything you need to get making your own nutrient-rich compost for your lawn and garden. It includes a bin, compactor, strainer, spigot, collection cup, and locally-made Bokashi bran.

Key features:

  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Odorless design
  • Compost tea collection cup included

35. Spin Bin Composter 60-Gallon Compost Tumbler

This outdoor composter boasts a durable and long lasting recycled plastic construction and is housed on a sturdy steel base for ease of mixing. Twist-locking lids on either end easily secure to keep children and animals out. It allows you to easily make your own compost in about half the time of some models.

Key features:

  • 60-gallon capacity
  • Instructions included
  • Made in the USA

36. Good Ideas CW-ECOS Compost Wizard Eco Square Composter

This outdoor composter boasts a square design that is gravity-fed and is designed to stand up to all sorts of weather conditions. It is safe for use in homes with children and pets thanks to the latching lid and is made in the USA with FDA-approved materials.

Key features:

  • 100-gallon capacity
  • Creates rich compost in as little as a month
  • Tool-less assembly

37. Hungry Bin Flow-Through Worm Farm

This composter boasts an odorless operation and comes complete with an integrated wheel base for ease of portability. The secure latch deters animals and children from getting in while preventing the lid from catching in the wind.

Key features:

  • Vermin-proof design
  • Easy-pour drip tray collects compost tea
  • Made in New Zealand

38. Bosmere K767 11 Cubic Foot Compost Bin

This outdoor composter boasts a durable and eco-friendly 100% recycled plastic construction in a dark color to help retain heat for increased compost production. It features integrated adjustable air vents, and an easy-to-use top lid for added convenience.

Key features:

  • 11-cubic foot capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Sliding bottom door for collecting compost

39. Can O Worms Composter With 1000 Red Worms

This composter unit boasts a durable and eco-friendly 100% recycled plastic construction and comes complete with 1000 red wiggler worms to get you started making nutrient-rich compost right out of the box.

Key features:

  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea
  • Odorless design
  • 5 year warranty

40. Miracle Gro Single Chamber Tumbling Composter

This outdoor composter is available in a choice of two sizes for your family’s composting needs and boasts a heavy duty construction that is suitable for use year round. Thanks to the internal mixing bar, compost is broken down into a fine material for easier spreading in your garden.

Key features:

  • 18.5-gallon capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Integrated side locking mechanism

41. Exaco Thermo King 240-Gallon Compost Bin

This outdoor compost bin boasts a massive size that is ideal for even large families and features Thermolen plastics blended with recycled plastics for increased stability and durability. It boasts a tool-less assembly that makes setup a breeze.

Key features:

  • 240-gallon capacity
  • Integrated locks keep kids and wildlife out
  • Made in Germany

Indoor

42. SCD Probiotics K100 All Seasons Indoor Composter Kit

This composting kit allows you to quickly and easily turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost indoors year round. It comes complete with an air-tight lid, instructions for use, and a bag of All Seasons Bokashi.

Key features:

  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Carrying handle for ease of portability
  • Integrated spigot for collecting compost tea

43. Flo n Gro Brew Compost Tea Brewing System

Create your own nutrient-rich compost tea with this at-home brewing system. Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer that can be spread on your lawn and garden, and also be used to clear household drains. It comes complete with everything you need to get started, including two brewing kits.

Key features:

  • 3-gallon capacity
  • Drip-free tap
  • Made in the USA

44. Bokashi Compost Kit – Twin Buckets Model

This basic composter kit comes complete with everything you need to get making your own nutrient-rich compost for your lawn and garden. It includes two bins with integrated spigots, a compactor, and locally-made Bokashi bran.

Key features:

  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Odorless design
  • Compost tea collection cup included

45. Food Cycler Indoor Kitchen Composter

This innovative indoor composter uses a three-step process to break down your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost for your lawn and garden. It can create compost in as little as three hours with no special draining, venting, or additives.

Key features:

  • Odorless design
  • Dishwasher-safe removable basket
  • Twist-locking lid

Best Small Compost Bins in 2017

Jump to the Reviews

Having a sense of self-sustainability is a big part of the draw of food growing. Without sounding too romantic, the whole endeavour is connected with nature and its basic ingredients: soil, seeds and the weather. So having a compost bin, creeping out onto the balcony or patio after dinner to add leftovers to the pile, really adds to the satisfaction.

The common image of a compost pile is that of a big panel-bounded heap of rotting garden waste. “Huge” being the operative word here. If you live in the countryside and have ever seen decomposing piles of manure in fields during summer, you’ll know what I mean. Yet you can just as easily have a small pile, a small bin, tucked away in a corner of your container or backyard garden.

In this little article, I want to have a look at some of the smaller options that are available to buy, picking out the best on the way. I do love composting and, if you’re yet to try it, I’m sure you will too…

A Note About Small Scale Composting

What’s small? For the purposes of this article, any bin that’s 200 litres or less will be classed as small. What this means is that those who want to get the biggest possible amount of compost out of their space will have an option of a large bin. That said, those that only have space for a small “bin” will be catered for too.

Many of the so-called “small compost bins” are actually caddies – they’re designed to hold waste until you can take it from the kitchen to the heap. They’re very small (usually only of a 4/5 litre capacity or so) and will make very poor composters if you make the mistake of accidentally using one. Just something to bear in mind.

The main issue with untended, open small compost heaps is that they tend not to produce enough heat to attract the aerobic microorganisms (mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria) that are needed to rapidly break down organic waste, which work in a temperature range of 70F/21C – 100F/38C. When a pile is large enough, the combined efforts of bacteria functioning at lower temperatures produce enough heat to attract those bacteria that thrive in higher ones.

So whilst very small heaps will decompose, their inability to generate heat means that the process will occur over a much longer period. So it’s important that we try and help the process along as much as possible: turning frequently, adding insulation if possible, and balancing the ingredients as well as possible. It’s always worth doing some home experimentation and you can buy a compost thermometer to track your pile’s temperature, which will give you a better idea of what’s going on.

As said, t is possible to speed up the process by balancing your mix well. Chopping green waste down, for instance, increases the surface area on which bacteria are able to process the organic material, insulating the bin with a black liner, putting it in a sunny spot, adding a little manure or soil, and maintaining the optimum amounts of nitrogen and carbon-containing materials will also help.

Whatever our circumstances, we want our “small” bin to be as big as possible. Fortunately, most small spaces can accommodate the type of bins included in this list, which tend to be no more than a meter or so high and fairly narrow. There are also a few other options if space really is at a premium:

Worm bin: Worm bins are (in my opinion) hands-down the best option for urban growers. You can have lots of nutrient-rich vermicompost (worm poo) in a relatively short time and you can remove the compost in one go or intermittently throughout the year. They are essentially small bins to which you add “red wriggler” worms, which will process your kitchen waste for you.

Bokashi: An old Asian composting method, Bokashi is one of the best options for small-space and urban container gardeners. The process, which requires a special bran, takes about two weeks. It doesn’t result in compost, but rather a “fermented” mix of food waste which then needs to be left to rot down fully. It’s main benefit is in speeding up the process

Top Picks for Small Compost Bins

So here’s our selection of seven small bins, one of which (I’m sure) you’ll fall in love with! Just click on the image to go to the corresponding website.

Darlac Garden Composter (Great for the Price) (UK Only)

A cheap and simple option. The Darlac composter is a thin bin (thin being the operative word here) so it will fit into a smaller area, making up for the lost width with its reasonable height. It’s got everything that you need: a waterproof plastic and fabric covering, holes for aeration and drainage, and (importantly) a zip lid and bottom panel from which to remove fresh compost. If you’re on a budget, the Darlac is your man (or bin, rather…).

Fiskars Eco Bin (US Only)

Fiskars is a great brand (their secateurs ranked high in our best picks) and I highly recommend their nifty little 70 litre compost bin. It’s made from a black mesh-like material, so aeration is top-notch. It also collapses down so is very easy to store when not in use. The one drawback is that the bottom is open, the basis (if you mind the pun) for which is to allow worms into the heap. If it won’t be resting on grass or soil, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to craft a base from mesh or plastic sheeting.

Compact Tumbler

The great thing about compact tumbler bins is that they’re very easy to aerate (you just rotate them a few times) and, because they’re raised above the ground, rodents are much less of a problem. This is of particular concern to those living in the city. The pictured Draper bin, for example, is stylishly compact. It’s a little bit overpriced for those in the US, so the Yimby Tumbler might be a better option.

Bosmere Small Wooden Compost Bin (UK & US)

If you’re lucky enough to have some open ground, but are still gardening in limited space, then a small bin in the traditional design might be worthy of consideration. I’ve included it more for the sake of being thorough than anything else. I must admit I feel a little averse to forking out more than £100 for something that could be built cheaply. Nonetheless, if you’re short on time…

It’s unlikely to work well on a patio or balcony (especially if it’s a decking balcony) because of it’s open bottom design. Rodents may present a problem too. For a tiny London allotment, however, it will slot in perfectly.

Wooden Bee Hive Bin (UK Only)

For those who want to go for a less plastic look, then a wooden “bee hive” bin may be the obvious choice. The problem with wooden composters that are produced on a large scale is that they are often of a low quality – cheap plywood badly tacked together. The one pictured on the left is handmade in Wiltshire with treated timber, so quality needn’t be a worry.

Its on the smaller side (though three different sizes are available), so give the mix as much attention as you can. Get the right balance of materials, keep it well aerated, and protect it with black tarp in the colder months (I know I’ve given that advice three times now).

Hotbin

I’m a huge fan of the Hotbin brand. It’s made from a thick foam-like material that means higher temperatures can be achieved much more easily, speeding up the composting process. You can have rich, friable compost in ninety days, which can easily be extracted from the bottom hatch. By adding green waste as it becomes available, you essentially have an uninterrupted system (so no need to add all waste in one go in order to achieve high temperatures). Indeed, it is preferable to add waste regularly, in addition to a bulking agent, to ensure high temperatures are maintained.

Though it is quite large (though by no means too big for a small garden or patio/balcony) it’s relatively easy to amend it so that it can work on a continuous basis for a smaller household. It’s worth spending some time on their website just to get an understanding of what’s involved. Once you do get the hang of it, however, I guarantee you’ll turn into a fan (like I did).

Worm Factory by Nature’s Footprint

One of the best worm bins on the market. If you’re short on space but want a steady supply of compost, then getting a wormery is the obvious way to go. The unique design of the worm factory makes it easier to extract the castings when they’re ready. The multi-tier system, which you can adapt to suit your own levels of waste, means that the worms migrate upwards, leaving the compost on the lower tiers available for use.

What Are Your Experiences?

So there you have it! My selection of the best small compost bins. Do get in touch if you have any brands or models that you’ve had particular success with and I’ll post the reviews! Happy composting!

More Resources

  • Some more reviews of tumbler bins from The Daily Gardener.

Image Credit: Alan Levine

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A common misconception is that you can’t garden and make your own compost if you are limited on space. That’s simply not true! Anyone can take small steps to living more sustainably. And that includes gardening and composting your food scraps — even if you live in a small space.

Take the first step by picking up a packet of herb seeds and try container gardening. Or, join a community garden where you can have your own plot to grow whatever you’d like. No matter how big your garden is, you’ll want to start composting. Compost provides a great source of nutrients to your growing fruits and vegetables. And it’s easier than you might think!

While you can build your own compost bin, there are plenty of ready-made compost bins to help you jumpstart the process. And some are even designed to work well in smaller spaces. Let’s take a look at four options.

Earth911 teams up with affiliate marketing partners to help fund our Recycling Directory. If you purchase an item through one of the affiliate links in this post, we will receive a small commission.

Compostio Indoor Composter

Compostio Indoor Composter, image courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

The Compostio Indoor Composter is a stylish composter that will fit right in with your high-end kitchen. Unlike traditional composters, the Compostio needs to be plugged in. The electricity allows it to generate enough heat to break down even meat, fish, and dairy. And you get your compost in just two weeks. Measuring in at only 20 x 12 x 20 inches and weighing 22 pounds, the Compostio is great for apartment dwellers and others with limited space.

Mr. ECO Kitchen Composter

Mr. ECO Kitchen Composter, image courtesy of Exaco Trading Co.

Does the idea of watching food compost make you a bit squeamish? Then the Mr. ECO Kitchen Composter with hideaway tumbler just might be the right choice for you. The patented lid locks in odors and hides food waste from your sight. Just dump your scraps in, turn the tumbler, and they’re gone. At 11 x 8.5 x 20 inches and weighing just 3.5 pounds, it’s small enough to place on a counter top. And it comes with mounting hardware so that you can hang it from the cabinet door under your sink. Note that the unit does use compostable liner bags.

Buy the Mr. ECO Kitchen Composter on Amazon

Envirocycle Mini Composter/Compost Tea Maker

Envirocycle Mini Composter, image courtesy of Envirocycle Systems

Unlike the Compostio and Mr. ECO, the Envirocycle Mini Composter is designed for outside use. But with a small profile at 19 × 18.75 × 21.5 inches, and weighing less than 14 pounds, it works well on small decks, porches, or patios. It has a 4- to 6-week compost time, so even though it’s a smaller composter, you can produce enough compost to nourish a small garden. And it comes fully assembled, so you can start composting your food scraps right away.

Buy the Envirocycle Mini Composter on Amazon

Worm Factory Worm Composter

The Worm Factory 360 Worm Composter. Image: Amazon

Vermicomposting is a great way to compost your kitchen waste as well. Worm castings provide rich nutrients for your soil. There are many vermicomposting systems on the market. The Worm Factory 360 by Nature’s Footprint has a profile that works well for smaller spaces. Measuring 17.9 x 17.9 x 14.9 inches, it can be tucked away out of site while it turns your food scraps into great compost for your garden.

Buy the Worm Factory 360 on Amazon

Do you have other suggestions for composting in small spaces? Share your ideas with the community in the Earthling Forum.

Feature image courtesy of Envirocycle Systems

Editor’s note: Originally published on August 31, 2015, this article was updated in June 2019.

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  • Compost in plastic tank in botanical garden in Poland, Europe. Close up
  • Birdhouse and sunflowers in a country garden.
  • Large compost bin made out of corrugated metal on an allotment plot next to a timber shed
  • Compost bin as simple wooden silos in the garden, selected focus
  • Backyard Compost Bin
  • Close-up looking into a compost bin with a corrugated roof and rotting vegetables on the grass in front, Sturminster Newton, Dorset,
  • A Large Brown Garden Waste Wheelie Bin with Snow on Lid in a Cheshire Garden England United Kingdom
  • composting bin with leaves and other debris in it. It has a sign that reads ‘Composting’
  • Image of compost bin in the autumn garden
  • Wooden composter, compost heap garden, dry plant and other bio waste on pile
  • Black plastic compost bin and small wooden cabin in town garden
  • Garden compost heap in wooden composter, composting waste
  • Wooden compost bin
  • Compost bin garden waste, leaves, dry stems, organic leftovers, grow pumpkin
  • A compost bin made of old wooden pallets, with dead flowers, garden waste and soil.
  • Wooden composter bin in a garden
  • Wooden compost boxes with composted soil and yard waste for garden composting in backyard
  • Garden wooden composter, Bin compost heap with plant pumpkins
  • A compost made from bamboo in the bush.
  • Two wooden composters placed in the shady part of the garden
  • Storage solutions for outdoors organization, for trash or compost bin, recyclables, with watering can, stone pebble patio
  • Garden compost bin heap with plant pumpkins
  • Wooden compost bin with waste
  • Garden compost bin, composting pile biological waste from the garden and the house
  • Compost bins on an allotment
  • Wooden composter, compost heap in allotment garden
  • A Large Brown Garden Waste Wheelie Bin with Snow on Lid in a Cheshire Garden England United Kingdom
  • Compost bin garden waste, leaves, dry stems, organic leftovers
  • Image of compost bin in the autumn garden

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In case you are someone who has never actually composted before, here are a few general guidelines for a succesful compost. First off you want to stay away from putting meat, dairy, and lots of heavy oils into your compost. You can use eggshells, but not the eggs themselves. No meat really, but if a tiny bit sneeks in that’s probably fine. When I say LOTS of heavy oils, that’s truly what I mean. You can put your left over stir fry you didn’t get around to eating, which you cooked in lots of olive oil, but I wouldn’t make my own dougnuts by deep frying them in oil and then toss the left over oil into my compost. Too much oil can smother microbes, affect beneficial insects well-being, and create anaerobic areas in your compost. This is the opposite of a healthy compost which is your goal. Anaerobic essentially means areas that have little or no oxygen flow. Good aeration is essential in creating a livable environment for the bacteria, insects, and fungi that break down organic matter. Good aeration also leads to a faster composting process and enables all of your organic matter to break down equally due to the fact that you are continually turning your compost. This brings me to why we have three bins, in case you were wondering. The reason that we have built three bins here is to seperate your constant supply of table scraps and other organic materials from a mature pile of compost. Essentially you start adding table scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other yard debris to one bin. Here is a great website that elaborates on the carbon /nitrogen ratio of different organic matter (organic matter being the things listed above like leaves, table scraps, etc…), and why this is important to understand: http://www.composting101.com/c-n-ratio.html Here is another great website that talks about what can be composted, what types of nutrients it is rich in, and what should generally be omitted from the home compost bin: http://www.the-organic-gardener.com/garden-composting.html When you have a significant sized pile that essentially fills an entire bin, and you have visited these websites to learn how to construct your piles, you can toss the whole thing into a wheelbarrow and move it into the next bin. As this pile breaks down because you continue to turn it regularly for increased aeration, you may add a bit more organic matter as your pile will begin to get smaller over time. When you have filled the second bin yet again, you can then toss it all into the wheelbarrow and move it to your third bin. Here you will completely stop adding any additional organic matter. Continue to turn until compost!! There is one more important factor in composting that I think you should know. This is moisture content. For the same reason that you want to turn your compost to increase air flow, you also want to regulate the moisture levels. The amount of moisture in your compost will effect the lives of the bacteria, insects, and fungi that process organic matter into compost. Here is a great link that can teach you more on the subject of moisture content in your compost: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/needs_moisture.htm Easy ways to control moisture are plastic coverings for your bins and misting your compost with a hose when you turn it for airflow. Good luck future composters and thanks for reading!!

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