While a compost bin is not necessary for decomposition of food and yard debris, it does make the process more efficient and helps to organize the materials. There are a variety of bins that can be bought or made. The Spokane County Master Composters/Recyclers have found the following to be among the most efficient:
- Wire Mesh Compost Bins
- Portable Wood & Wire Composting Bin
- Wood & Wire Stationary 3-Bin System
Wire Mesh Compost Bins:
Wire mesh composting bins are versatile, inexpensive and easy to construct. They may be used as holding bins for composting moderate amounts of food and yard wastes or as turning systems for quick composting of larger volumes. Holding bins are a convenient way of composting organic wastes with little effort. Simply add wastes as they are cleaned up from the yard or gathered in the kitchen. With little effort and occasional moistening, compost will be ready in 6 months to 2 years. Attention should be paid to chopping materials and maintaining moisture. Occasional turning will produce compost in less time. Wire mesh bins can be moved to turn piles or to harvest finished compost. To do this, simply undo latches, pull the mesh away from compost and set it up elsewhere. The pile may be turned into the bin at its new location and compost can be removed from the bottom.
The circular design illustrated has advantages. The circle bin may be made from poultry wire or hardware cloth. Poultry wire is the least expensive material. However it quickly loses its shape with use, requiring support with posts and frequent replacement. For a slightly higher cost, hardware cloth creates a self supporting circle which is easier to manipulate and more durable.
Materials for wire mesh circular bin:
(3-½ foot diameter)
12-½ feet of 36" wide 1" poultry wire, or
½" hardware cloth, or
16 gauge coated wire mesh.
4 - metal or plastic clips, or copper wire ties.
3-4 four foot wooden or metal posts
for poultry wire bins.
Tools: Heavy duty wire or tin snips, pliers, hammer or metal file, work gloves.
Roll out and cut 12-½ feet of poultry wire, hardware cloth or plastic coated wire mesh. If using poultry wire, roll back three to four inches at each end of cut piece to provide a strong clean edge which will be easy to latch and won’t poke or snag. Set wire circle in place for compost pile and secure ends with clips or wire ties. Space wood or metal posts around perimeter inside wire circle. Pound posts firmly into the ground while tensing them against wire to provide support.
If using hardware cloth, trim ends flush with a cross wire to eliminate loose edges that may poke or scratch hands. Apply file to each wire along cut edge to ensure safer handling when opening and closing bins. Bend hardware cloth into circle and attach ends with clips or ties. Set bin in place for composting. Bins made with hardware cloth should be strong enough to stand alone without posts. Plastic coated wire mesh bins are made in the same manner, except that bending this heavier material into an even circular shape will require extra effort. Also, filing the wire ends may cause the plastic coating to tear. Striking the end of each wire with a hammer a few times will knock down any jagged edges.
Portable Wood & Wire Compost Bin
Download directions here
Wood & Wire Three-Bin System
Download directions here