DIY Composting Bin

Whomever told you that household composting could only be completed with the use of expensive rotating bins or a specialized indoor composter really has their head in the dirt! Sure, I suppose a hand crank can greatly ease labor and the newest probiotic mix may slightly speed composting time, but is it all worth it? Some will disagree, but in my own opinion, none of the fancy frills are needed for composting. After all, why spend an insane amount of cash on a specialized unit, when a cheap DIY composting bin will produce the same great end result? To drive my point home, this post will focus on my own very inexpensive diy compost bins. By discussing their ease of use, efficiency and productivity, you'll easily gain a grasp on how much diy composting bins can do for you!

Storage Tubs for Composting - 

30 Gallon Diy Compost Bin.
Normally, when you hear the phrase 'do it yourself', you're expecting to build or create something, but that's really not the case here. I much apologize to those crafty folks out there, but I've found that plastic storage bins tend to be the best suitors for indoor composting. To meet my own composting needs, I've acquired two thirty gallon storage bins for the process. At a price of $2.99 each, their portability, size and mess-free qualities cannot be beat! For your convenience, I've placed together a short Q&A to help assist you in choosing the right compost bin:
  • How large of a compost bin do I need? When it comes down to it, you can go as large as you like, but the same cannot be said moving the other way. Small containers tend to be much more inefficient at breaking down materials due to the fact that there's simply not enough contained mass to retain and promote proper compost heating. For best results, plan to compost in containers with a volume larger than 25 gallons. 
  • Do I need multiple compost bins? It's really your preference, but having two containers to compost in is much easier than just one! When you're mixing your compost bin, it's a whole lot easier just to move the compost from bin to bin, rather than to reach in and mix each container from the bottom up by hand. 
  • Does there need to be holes in the bottom for ventilation? If you're looking to compost indoors like myself, I would highly recommend against drilling holes in the bottom of your composting container. Air circulation would be increased, but so would the mess on your floor. Instead of ventilation holes, maximize oxygen levels by turning the compost often. 
  • Will my indoor compost stink? Should I buy a container with a lid? As long as the proper ratio of browns and greens are achieved in your compost mixture, it will never smell foul. A rank smelling compost can be tied directly to an abundance of moisture or too much green material. In either case, a lid won't do much to subdue the smell. Instead, lids may come in handy for holding in compost heat and keeping pests out, but are not required for the composting process. 
Ease of Use - 

Alright, I'll admit that the diy indoor compost system isn't completely maintenance free, but what's an hour a week going to hurt? Following my basic methods of composting laid out in my last post, Benefits of Composting, here's how my weekly schedule looks for compost maintenance:
Two Week old Compost with recent
addition of new organics.
  • Monday - Turn compost & add water. (10 Minutes)
  • Tuesday - Turn compost. (5 Minutes)
  • Wednesday - Turn compost & add molasses water. (10 Minutes)
  • Thursday - Turn compost. (5 Minutes)
  • Friday - Turn compost & mix in week's accumulation of organic scraps. Add shredded paper and water to match. (15 Minutes)
  • Saturday - Turn compost. (5 Minutes)
  • Sunday - Turn compost and add water if needed. (10 Minutes)
Heck, if you're feeling a little under the weather, turn the compost pile every other day. It'll be fine, and you can save yourself some time. 

Efficiency - 

Since the initial start up of an indoor diy compost bin, the garbage thrown away by my household has drastically reduced. With two people in the apartment, an average of two 13 gallon sized trash bags were thrown out a week. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but multiply that by the number of weeks in a year, and what you'll get is a ballpark figure of 105 bags! Positively, composting organic wastes and household paper products has reduced the number of bags destined for the dump down to one bag every two and a half weeks. Doing the same math we did before, the number of bags thrown out a year drops to 21! That's an 80% reduction in garbage and an 80% gain in your own personal efficiency! Here's an idea of what I was throwing out before that's now valuable compost fuel:
  • Receipts, Bills, Bank Statements, Junk Mail & Shredded Paper
  • Toilet Paper Rolls, Paper Bags, Corrugated Cardboard & Cardboard Product Packaging
  • Kitchen Scraps 
  • Coffee Grounds & Filters
Productivity -

One and a half month old compost.
Cool and ready for use. 
Keeping up with maintenance and turning the compost bin daily, I can produce a good amount of compost in a short amount of time. In fact, for the spring season, I've really outdone myself and produced a total of 90 gallons of compost in the last couple months. That's pretty dang good, but I must admit, a bit of the weight came from my free horse manure source! On average, expect a household family of four to produce 30 gallons of compost a month. With a few months of collection, you'll have plenty to amend your garden soils for a boost in fertility. 

Final Word - DIY Composting Bins

I suppose there's not really much to say in conclusion about a DIY composting bin. I think 90 gallons of compost for $6 with an extreme garbage reduction says it all . . . don't you?