Open Container Composting {Part II of the DIY Danielle Earth Day Composting Series}

The Most Affordable Method of Composting: The Open Compost Bin. Pro's, con's, how to setup your bin, and more.

The Most Affordable Method of Composting: The Open Compost Bin.

An intro to open container composting, Part II of the DIY Danielle Earth Day composting series.

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The DIY Danielle Earth Day Composting Series

I love composting and we've got several types of bins to compost with. Each type of bin seems to offer different benefits and over this series, I will discuss the pro's and con's for each type of composting option.  Keep an eye out for my other composting posts in April 2016 and be sure to subscribe if you want to ensure you don't miss them!

Open Container Composting 

I've got to be honest. This is not my favorite kind of composting. It does, however, have its purposes and I recommend using one. This type of composting is a bit of "let's let nature do its thing." It's also very cheap. I like cheap!

Pro's and Con's

Pro's
  • Very cheap. Our county gave ours to us for free. 
  • Very simple setup. No extensive building.
  • Not complicated to run. Nothing to kill, unlike the worm bin.
  • Great for beginning to compost.
  • Because it's open to the top and bottom, there's plenty of room for earthworms to make their way into your bin, as well as air and moisture.
  • Huge area to dump things in compared to the small area in the tumblers. This makes it really convenient for grass, cardboard boxes, and other yard stuff.
Con's
  • Must be kept outside, preferably away from your home.
  • Can attract animals... such as your dogs. Who will get into it and drag food back inside the house. Because dogs love banana peels.
  • Turning the compost is very difficult.
  • Slower to compost.
  • You really need more than one of these.

Supplies
Supplies listed below may include affiliate links to the products.

  • Compost bin, or make your own. You can also just make a pile, but that's obviously not as neat and may encourage pets or other critters to get into it. Some people make open bins out of upcycled pallets. These look so nice. 
  • Pitchfork

Setting Up

It was pretty simple to put ours together. I believe there were some clips and we folded the plastic into a cylinder shape and clipped it together. Then we added some soil, along with some compost materials. 

Caring for Your Open Compost Bin

An open compost bin is open to the air (good) and the rain (sometimes good). If you have a lot of rain, you may want to cover it with a tarp to reduce how much moisture it gets. I don't really bother. Most of the work that I do with this bin involves turning it with a pitchfork. This is to keep my dog from helping "compost" the food we put into the bin.

It's helpful to have two of these bins. I would like the open system a lot better if I did. The best setup would be to have Bin 1 and Bin 2. Start by using Bin 1. Once it's full enough to heat up properly, switch to using Bin 2. Keep turning both bins over. Once Bin 1 is fully composted, you can use much of that compost and start using Bin 1 again. Bin 2 can now sit and compost without further scraps being added to the pile.

Does that make sense? It's mostly to give yourself some compost that is usable... because I only own one open bin, I ALWAYS have uncomposted food scraps in the bin. Composting doesn't work fast enough to keep up with my kids' fruit habit. 

A note on turning: A pitchfork works better than a shovel. It's VERY hard to turn my compost bin because the plastic interferes. I have to reach over the top. I don't feel I can properly turn the bottom layers. Some people make upcycled pallet bins and add a latch and gate to the front of the bin. This might be a better option for easier turning because you can practice a healthier lifting technique (I have had multiple back injuries so I'm keen on this).

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DIY Danielle: Open Container Composting {Part II of the DIY Danielle Earth Day Composting Series}
Open Container Composting {Part II of the DIY Danielle Earth Day Composting Series}
The Most Affordable Method of Composting: The Open Compost Bin. Pro's, con's, how to setup your bin, and more.
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DIY Danielle
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