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What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Compost Bin?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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A DIY compost bin can be made from either plastic, metal, or wood. Plastic and metal compost bins are typically easier to clean and have less odor than wood compost bins. Compost bins can also be made from large barrels, which eliminate the need to manually turn the compost material. Air holes should be drilled into a compost bin, and red worms can also make composting much faster. Wooden compost bins, on the other hand, are typically very easy to build and a little more attractive to some.

An easy and inexpensive DIY compost bin can be made from plastic. A plastic pail or bin with a lid is typically all that is necessary. Holes should be drilled around the top and bottom edges as well as the bottom of the container. These holes allow air to flow freely through the compost bin.

For an indoor DIY compost bin, red worms can be added to the bin. A bedding of damp newspaper or wood chips should be added to the bottom first. Food scraps and other compost material can then be buried in the bedding. The worms will quickly consume the compost material, leaving behind nutrient-rich compost material known as vermicast.

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Plastic or metal barrels also make excellent DIY compost bins. These barrels should be food-grade barrels that have not been used to hold and chemicals. A metal rod can be threaded through the center of the top and bottom of a barrel, and a door can be cut into the side of the barrel. After this DIY compost bin has been set atop a wooden frame, a crank can be used to rotate the barrel every time new compost material is added. This eliminates the need to manually stir the compost material with a shovel or pitch fork.

One of the biggest advantages of a plastic or metal DIY compost bin is that these materials are non-porous. This means that they are much easier to clean. Simply spraying the insides of these types of compost bins with a hose is usually all that is necessary to clean them. Since these materials are not porous, they will also not retain much odor from the compost materials.

Although wood has a tendency to hold odors and decay faster than metal or plastic, a wood DIY compost bin is still a popular choice. These are typically fairly easy to make. In fact, they can be made with a few hand tools and some scrap wood. After staining or painting the wood, they are also typically a little more attractive than other types of compost bins.

To make a simple DIY compost bin out of wood, four shipping pallets can be attached to one another to form a square. One of the open ends can then be set on the ground, and a fifth pallet can be added to the top with a few hinges, if desired. This top will prevent pest infestation and help keep the compost material inside the bin. DIY compost bins also can be lined, sometimes with chicken wire.

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