Instructables
Picture of Home Composting
Why buy a bin and start Composting?

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use.

Do your bit to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Even for households that are already composting, new research has found that almost half of the food waste in their rubbish bins could have been put in the compost bin.

Did you know, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months?

We're often asked "Why do I need to compost when my waste will break down in landfill anyway?"

When waste is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth's atmosphere. However, when this same waste is composted above ground at home, oxygen helps the waste to decompose aerobically which means no methane is produced, which is good news for the planet. And what's more, after nine to twelve months, you get a free fertiliser for your garden and plant pots to keep them looking beautiful.
 
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Step 1: Getting The Right Bin

Picture of Getting The Right Bin
Getting the right bin for your garden is essential. you need to find a bin that will blend in with your garden but at the same time do the job it is there for.

If your in the UK try one of these bins. there are cheaper then anywhere else because a company subsidises the cost. http://www.recyclenow.com/home_composting/buy_a_bin/index.html

If you are in the US Wall Mart do good deals.
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mguer13321 days ago

have a look at keyhole gardens on the net. a much better way to have composting tower and raised permaculture beds around it at the same time.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=keyhole+garden

HelenaTroy1 year ago
IN the UK, some local authorities sell cheap composters to encourage people to start: mine was £5, devliered to the door - but of course you don't get much choice - you get what they've got. Maybe people could check their local Recycle organisations to see if they do similar bargains.
Thanks for sharing your tips.
lemonie5 years ago
Is there any part of this which you haven't copied from recyclenow.com?

L
Thomas_Kirkup (author)  lemonie5 years ago
no not really.
Thomas_Kirkup (author)  Thomas_Kirkup5 years ago
I didn't copy the "good things to put in the bin". :)
Well done you! Have you got a composter? L
Thomas_Kirkup (author)  lemonie5 years ago
YES. me and the misses try a lot to recycle the most we can. that is how we found the instructables website.
I've got plenty of material to compost, but the garden is so tiny I'd have nowhere to put it... L
Thomas_Kirkup (author)  lemonie5 years ago
look around the internet. you can get compost bins for indoors that use different methods of making the compost. or you could get a kitchen sink "gobbler". this turns veg, meat and other food wast into a liquid that goes down the drain.
Er - "waste disposal" units? That's not in line with composting. I don't have a problem with organic waste, I just don't have a use for compost. L
Thomas_Kirkup (author)  lemonie5 years ago
yeah wast disposal is good is it not? it doesn't fill a land site up.
It fills up the waste water system - what happens to it once it's been flushed down the drain..? L
it gets processed at the local waste water treatment plant, the solids, once collected, used as a farm fertiliser, and the water, now cleaned, is discharged into a watercourse, simple... :) But composting is more useful for the home fruit and veg grower, what you don't use or if left over, chuck it in the composter, and garden waste can be composted too, so it's a win-win situation... :)
Sadly, not all local waste water treatment plants are prepared to treat water this way. It would be ideal though!
And even better, it would be great if everybody composts their kitchen scraps and garden trimmings.
Using direct as I think you're suggesting is preferable to waste disposal units (70's get rid-of stuff "it's not my problem anymore" technology) Appreciate the comment L
No waste disposal system here, waste of electricity, just a pair of kitchen collector buckets and a compost bin, like the pictured one, outside that deals with the work... :) Actually I'm planning to get a second bin, as they are giving them away for free here (one per house through RecycleNow), I got my current bin in my last house, so the net one would still be free... :)
It becomes fish food...
awang8 lemonie5 years ago
Try a in-vessel system like one from Nature Mill, which you can win in the "Get in the Garden" contest.
I have a tiny balcony but do composting and with the help of my husband, cultivate a jungle of veggies. I'm no expert but I haven't bought soil or fertilizer for a long time. I got a plastic bucket about five gallons. made holes in the bottom, placed a few rocks in for drainage.put a larger tray with sides to catch runoff underneath. (it makes a great compost tea) filled the bottom 6inches of the bucket with shredded non-colour newspaper, and mixed in some 'starter' already completed compost from a friends garden. repeated the layers but started to mix in veg and tea, coffee more paper, etc. I think the trick is give the contents a good mix once a week. keep it on the moist side but not soaking or it will smell. I've never emptied the container completely just kept adding to it. I did once add some red wiggler worms but I felt bad 'cos I think they died. but I don't seem to need 'em the bacteria in the soil seems to break down the contents. anyway this is my long way round saying lemonie you're great, but nobody has an excuse to NOT compost.
Interesting, can you take some pics and create an Instructable out of it? "Tiny balcony" and you manage it would be of interest to people. L
loved to but my camera is from digital age 1. but i'll try and borrow one.
If a you have a picture taking cell phone you can use that (that's what i use)
no phone, no camera I feel so inadequate. But I do have lots of lovely compost. lemonie did you try composting this summer? I remembered something I used to do when I had a real garden and not just my balcony to grow plants on and it may suit you. Keep your healthy veg and plant trimmings for a few days and dig a hole in a quiet spot and toss in the veg etc and replace the soil. The worms love it and where you've got compost loving red wigglers you've got healthy soil. Just take the labels off the fruit 'cos they don't rot at all.
Pizzapie5004 years ago
How about for pumpkin patches? BTW love your instructable!
trampart5 years ago
In order to recycle, i use used tires stacked one on top of another to a suitable height (depending on how tall you are). When one is filled, I start another. To access the finished compost, I simply disassemble. Should I do a tutorial, or is this self-explanatory?
It would be great for you to do a tutorial. Not because it is difficult, but because it will showup in searches and create a forum for discussion and the birth of new ideas. I just happened to see your tire idea by accident. I wish I had seen it sooner, before my neighbors chucked thier tires in the trash that had been sitting on thier property farming mosquitos for four years.
hi trampart. Could u do an instructable? I need pictures to understand most things!?!
hav2sing4 years ago
Brilliant advice; love the detail! Thank You for taking the time!!
I use a very similar bin.  Mine has air vents on the side which bees used for entry. I epoxied some screening to keep them out.

For a really quick and easy worm composting bin idea, visit:

www.theruralindependent.com/
LOL, he said global warming.....
richarpo5 years ago
Why bother with a bin, just throw it in a heap and put some burlap over it to keep the rain off. No worries about getting oxygen to it that way, and it's interesting to watch your food decay, and to see little animals crawling about in it. 
You can put cardboard on your heap, this encourages woodlice and helps prevent the green soggy mass problem.
ManifoldSky5 years ago
Sorry, but I have to strenuously disagree with your do not put list. This is a BIG peeve of mine.
1) Meat: There really is no reason for meat not to be put in a bin, especially a covered one such as in your post. For uncovered bins, burying meat at least 12" under fine particle carbon matter, like saw dust, greatly reduces the likelihood that your bin will be raided by animals. As for the issue of meat decaying, it breaks down very quickly, and does not smell if processed as above.

2) Cooked vegetables, I am at a loss about this one. There is not a single thing wrong with cooked vegetables. Now, perhaps if you put a lot of salt on them, that might be problematic (though not a deal breaker) but certainly there is no need to exclude them from a compost pile.

3) I hear this one a lot. Again, the central stated issues are the same with meat. And again, the remediations are the same. Bury for odor control. NOt that it is particularly necessary, as it loses any odor quickly in a pile, often within hours.

4) Diseased plants all depends on the disease, and the type of pile. If it is a hot pile, pretty much any plant matter can be used, even ones with serious infections, as the disease organisms are killed in the pile. WIth a cold pile, a 1 year retention often kills the rest.
For common diseases like molds and powdery mildew, these are not going to be transfered by compost anyway.

5)This one is the most common one, and the most misunderstood. It is often rephrased more generally as "carnivore feces." However you phrase it, its prohibition from the pile is not based on any scientific foundation. The oft-cited cause (which seems reasonable on the surface) is disease, especially E. coli. The response to this is manifold. First, the PRIMARY vector for E. coli poisoning is NOT animal feces at all, but rather plants. Think of all the major national E. coli events. 100% have been due to plants, tomatoes, jalapeños, spinach. Also, cow dung has huge amounts of E.coli. so allowing cow manure and not dog manure is simply silly on this basis.
Now on to the big one. Cat poop. The (unfortunately) common response here is the dreaded toxoplasmosis. However, this is really NOT an issue. First, the parasitic disease organism only is expelled in cat feces in the first two weeks after initial infection. As most cats contract their TP infection as kittens, this is almost never a concern. Second, most people with cats have already been exposed, and are immune. Third, the only people who are in any kind of danger are those with very weakened immune systems, or women in a three week window during pregnancy. At all other times, it is impossible to transmit the organism to the fetus. A major study was done about TP, and initially they used cats as a vector to examine TP infection. But what they found surprisingly was that they found NO evidence that ANYONE ever transmitted the infection through this route, so they were forced to redesign the experiment. Interestingly, one of the most common vectors for transmission is pica, often in the form of eating dirt. Surely you are not proposing to ban dirt from what is essentially, dirt.
On to diapers (I am in the US afterall.) Certainly disposable diapers, with all their plastic, would be a problem, as would be cloth diapers, as well as being stupid and wasteful. But there are disposable varieties that compost well, and I can't think of a single serious reason for banning them from a pile.
As for perennial weeds, that is such a waste of great OM. While you might want to avoid the seed heads if you are not hot composting (heat kills them fine) or the untreated roots of such things as binweed, they are easily treated by just letting them sit out in the sun for a day or two. Then just compost them as usual.

I have been composting for decades, ran a little, homemade humanure composting toilet, and ran several large and small bins in the middle of a large, urban area, and other than a few misinformed city officials, I never had any problem, other than WAY too much compost to really use on the small garden I had on my roof.

For a good source of more accurate information, you might want to try reading Joseph Jenkins' "Humanure Handbook." It is even available free online from here:
http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Humanure_Handbook_all.pdf .
Composting cat poop also depends on the sort of litter used. Pine, wheat, and corn litters all compost well. Sand- and clay-based litter aren't very good bets for the bin (large hunks of stinky clay -- eeeuw!).
Personally, I use pine pellets, in the form of stove fuel in 40lb bags for $4.00 (as opposed to 7lb bags of the identical Feline Pine® for $9. However, I am assuming that people use scoops, so the variety of litter is not really relevant. If it is clay, sure, just scoop out the valuables, and discard the litter. If the litter is compostable as well, have at it. But that is a different issue.
I don't live in the U.K but the U.S are there any rebate programs in the U.S?
romaine5 years ago
Don't put potato peel into the bin, potatoes are usually treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting, if you sow in the resulting compost your seeds won't germinate.
If you wash off the potatoes you usually get most of the chemicals off.
I like to tread as lightly on this world as I possibly can, but I could honestly not get past the part where the author of this instructable was talking about the evils of the methane coming out of our landfills. I would like to share another perspective on that. BMW's U.S. plant is located Spartanburg, SC, where I live. Here is a brief statement, straight from their website, about how they are putting landfill methane to good use and I commend them for it. "Spartanburg Landfill Imagine the energy needed to drive a car around the globe 4,300 times - over 100 million miles. That's how much energy we save each year by using methane gas from the local landfill at our Spartanburg plant instead of natural gas. As a result, the atmosphere is spared thousands of tons of greenhouse gases - 17,000 tons to be exact. Ever since we started construction on our Spartanburg plant in 1993, our plan consisted of the efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water. Specifically, our plan called for building a 9.5-mile pipeline from the Palmetto Landfill to our facility where we build the BMW Z4 and the BMW X5. The recycled methane gas that we get as a result of this pipeline not only provides energy for 50% of the plant's total energy, but it also helps us reduce energy costs. While we're proud of our energy savings at Spartanburg, we know they're just part of the larger picture. BMW's global production network has reduced CO2 emissions by 30% in the last 10 years, for example, and we continue making inroads in such important places as hydrogen technology. We believe in doing things differently at BMW, and we believe that includes committing to sustainable business practices. And, as an independent company, we have the power of putting our money where our mouth is in order to share our beliefs with the world. " Before you ask, I am not now, nor have I ever been, employed by or otherwise affiliated with BMW.
That's funny and a great point. Methane is a natural by-product of organic (anaerobic) decomposition. The Earth itself releases tons of methane annually. Knowledge is POWER!!!
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