Intro: Backyard Organic Waste Digester
I made this digester to divert our pet waste and a portion of our household organic waste from the landfill. It's pretty easy to make and it will save you money by reducing the volume of waste you must pay to dispose of.
This digester is basically a compost bin with a twist. The twist being that the bin is sealed and partially buried to deter pests from feasting on the stuff inside.
I do not plan to harvest any material from the digester since my compost bin provides enough humus for my soil-building needs. The other reason for not harvesting the digester's contents is that it will be comprised of some nasty stuff, namely dog poop and rotting meat. Yechh!
My inspiration for the project came from the website of my local government: http://www.compost.bc.ca/learn/factsheets/3digester.pdf
Let's get started!
Step 1: Items You Will Need...
- Bin with a tight-fitting lid
- Electric drill
- Holesaw kit
- Felt-tip marker
Step 2: Siting the Digester
The best place for the digester is somewhere with plenty of sun and away from food crops. Sun helps it break down the waste faster and keeping it away from food crops reduces the risk of pathogens making their way into your food. I put mine along the property line with about a 40 foot buffer between it and our garden.
Once you have found a good spot for your digester it is time to dig a hole. I made the hole slightly larger than the bin and about 8 inches deep. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to go a bit deeper.
Step 3: Preparing the Bin
Now that you've got a hole in the ground it's time to put some holes in the bin. These holes allow the decomposing material to migrate out of the bin and into the surrounding soil. The holes also allow worms to come and go as they please, all the while munching on the 'goodies' in there.
I used a 1-3/4" holesaw to make the holes. The molded supports on the bottom of my bin made it very easy to lay out my holes as you can see in the photo. You may have to use a different method to space your holes. Just make sure you leave enough material between the holes so as not to compromise the structure too much.
After you have drilled all the holes in the bottom, drill a series of holes around the lower circumference of the bin. Again I used the molded supports as reference lines to get the appropriate spacing.
Step 4: You're Almost Done!
The final step is to place the bin inside the hole you just dug and backfill around the bin. I lightly tamped the soil down and then placed some rocks around the base. You can plant something around the base to help blend the bin into it's surroundings or embrace the bin in it's au naturel state.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your digester (if you make one - post some photos or comments!)