Composting Bins / What’s Compost
Special bins are a traditional and most reliable means of composting. These are basically structures built to house compost and are designed so as to facilitate the decomposition of organic matter through proper aeration and moisture retention.
Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as kitchen waste, dog poop, grass, food waste, newspaper, leaves, and coffee grounds, etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.
Actinomycetes are similar to fungus in the way they grow and spread, but its distinguishing elements are that the types of materials they are efficient at decomposing. The active nature in this microscopic bacteria and the sheer number present (about 10 million per 1 gram of soil), make them highly effective at breaking down materials like tree bark and other hard organic material.
Composting Bins / Balancing Air and Moisture
With the proper combination of air and moisture, ideal conditions are produced for the activity of aerobic organisms responsible for the high temperatures that transform the organic materials into compost. Compost bins come in vast array of shapes and sizes to fulfill your needs.
Composting Bins / The Ins and Outs
Composters are designed according to their use i.e. whether they are to be used indoors or outdoors. Outdoor compost bins are intended to be placed outside, or in a covered space where odor isn’t important (such as a barn or garage). On the other hand, indoor compost bins are designed with odor controls built in.
These features tend to either reduce the size of the composter or drive up its price. Indoor compost bins are either air-tight or include a special filter to control smell. The filters have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced every 6 months to a year. They are often made from activated carbon.
A composter may be single chamber or multi chamber. They can be made from mesh wire, scrap wood, bricks, cinderblocks, plastic, or a combination of these building materials.
Few popular commercially available bins are:
- Enclosed Bins: – These are most basic composters. Neat appearance, low cost and low maintenance requirements make this the most popular bin available. However, low maintenance means slower composting.
- Rolling Bins: – A rolling composter 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 compost aerator.
- Compost 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. Energy-efficient design is relatively easy to aerate. It supplies bacteria with the oxygen it needs and consequently speeds up decomposition.
The best food based ingredients for your compost bin are the raw peelings, cores and scraps from your fruit and vegetables. Tea bags, coffee grounds and crushed eggshells are also valuable to the composting process.
When you are putting these into your compost bin, bear in mind that they are rich in moisture; so add a good supply of ‘browns’ to ensure a good balance and make certain the process has plenty of air.
Steer clear of any dairy or meat based products; including fish and bones. Similarly, cooked food (including bread) can have quite a strong aroma and may contain either oils or meats.
Composting Bins / Advantages
The advantage of using a compost bin as opposed to creating loose heaps is that it provides the ideal controlled environment for aerobic decomposition to occur more completely and rapidly, while providing the home garden a tidy, sanitary spot for on-site disposal of any yard or kitchen waste.
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