Composting your kitchen and garden waste is good for the environment, wildlife and your garden. Breaking down over a year or so, home-made compost is a fantastic soil conditioner that you can use as a mulch around the base of shrubs and trees, keeping both the soil, and your garden, healthy.
Types of compost bin
Compost bins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are made using different materials. Choose your compost bin based on the size of your plot, the design of your garden and the amount of compost you want to make.
Here, David Hurrion takes you through the different types of compost bin available, and which is best:
More on composting:
Browse our list of compost bins to choose from, below.
Make your own compost bin
A compost bin made of corrugated iron and pallet wood
You can make your own compost bin using wooden pallets or corrugated iron. Enclosing the sides will retain heat, speeding up the rotting process. The larger the pile, the more heat. The ideal minimum size is 1m x 1m and, ideally, make more than one – it makes the compost easier to turn.
Plastic compost bin
Turning compost from plastic compost bins
A plastic compost bin is ideal for a small space. The plastic sides and lid retain moisture and heat to encourage rapid decomposition. They also block out light to stop weeds regrowing. The bin should ideally be placed on grass or earth.
Hot composting bin
Adding green garden waste to a hot compost bin
Insulated with a close-fitting lid, hot composting bins are designed to allow decomposition at a much higher temperature and a higher speed (30-90 days, compared to around six months for ordinary compost) and results in a finer compost. They are roughly size of a wheelie bin and can stand on a hard surface.
Wormery compost bin
Adding veg peelings to a wormery compost bin
Wormeries are designed for the small-scale composting of kitchen waste. Worms mix and break down the compost quickly and produce a nutrient-rich liquid for use as a fertiliser. Compost worms can also be added to larger bins. Not all waste can be composted, so you’ll still need a compost bin too.