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Natural Living Series: How to Make a Compost Bin for Your Home

Posted by Gemmill Homes on 11/05/2016 8:29:44 PM

It seems like we as people create more and more garbage all the time. Our landfills are getting overstuffed with household waste, much of which could be diverted through recycling or by composting. With a little know-how and a willingness to make the planet a better place, you can make your own compost bin. It’s not as hard as you might think.

It seems like we as people create more and more garbage all the time. Our landfills are getting overstuffed with household waste, much of which could be diverted through recycling or by composting. With a little know-how and a willingness to make the planet a better place, you can make your own compost bin. It’s not as hard as you might think.

Let’s break it down.

What is composting?

Before getting started, it’s good to know the basics. So, what exactly is composting? Composting is a natural process of recycling anything that was once living in the soil. In essence, anything living will eventually decompose. A compost bin allows nature’s process to be accelerated. This allows waste to be renewed and continue on to its next life cycle.

The type of compost bin you’ll need will depend on your living situation. Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you have a backyard? Do you have room in your home to house a composting bin? What are you looking to compost? Some people choose to stick exclusively to an outdoor compost to use for grass, leaves, straw and the like, while others want to have one indoors for green and brown waste. Green waste includes items such as fruit and vegetable peelings and scraps, plant scraps, and tea bags. Brown waste includes items such as egg shells, paper and cardboard products, and vacuum bag contents.

Now that we’ve established what composting is and what you can put inside, it’s time to learn how to make one.

1.     Storage Bin

The first thing you’ll need is a storage bin with a lid. The size will depend on the space you have available. If you go small, you could put it by the sink or stove where you’ll have easy access to dispose of scraps. Another great place is under the sink. This will allow for a decent sized bin.

2.     Circulation

Your bin needs to have ventilation for the composting process to occur. To create the air flow, you’ll need to drill holes in your bin, approximately 1-2 inches apart. You’ll want to keep the holes small enough that there is no risk of food falling out.

3.     Lining

Since your bin will have holes on the bottom and the sides, you’ll need to line the bottom with newspaper. You don’t want any debris to seep out.

4.     Soil

To facilitate the composting process, it’s good to add a layer of soil on top of the newspaper lining. Approximately four inches of soil will do the trick. If it’s a tiny bin, you can get away with less.

5.     Dry Layer

Before adding food scraps, you’ll want another layer of newspaper. It’s extremely important to have a balance of dry and wet for the composting process to work effectively.

That’s it! You’ve just created your very first composting bin. Now you can start adding scraps.

Maintenance tips

  • Try and keep scrap pieces small
  • Add paper shreds or leaves in every so often to keep the dry/wet balance going
  • Keep a list of what can and can’t go in the bin
  • Once a week add a scoop of new soil to the mix
  • Turn over the contents of the bin often
  • Avoid putting any dairy, fat or meat in your indoor compost
  • Avoid anything overly watery so the contents of the bin doesn’t get soggy
  • If odour becomes an issue add more holes or newspaper to restore the balance

Another thing you’ll want to consider is having a spare bin on hand. If your bin is full of scraps and the contents haven’t fully broken down, you can start a new one. Different materials decompose at different rates, so don’t expect there to be a standard. Over time, you’ll have a better sense of which things break down quicker than others. Trial and error is part of the process.

Once you’ve mastered your first bin, you can get really creative with the next one. If you have the space, there are all different kinds of things you could use to make a bin. You could use barrels, stack old tires on top of one another, use pallets, or even an old garbage can. The possibilities are endless. Just remember that the bigger bins are best left for the outdoors.

If you’re environmentally conscious or would like to make more of an effort to be green, composting is definitely a great place to start. Yard and food waste make up a significant portion of the world’s waste stream. By composting, you divert waste from our landfills, water treatment facilities, and waterways. Just imagine if more people did this, what a significant difference it could make. So, what are you waiting for? Get composting.

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