What composter is best for you?
03.12.2019 in News
As we become more eco-aware and try to live more sustainably, more inventive ways of composting become available; from home made and built wooden composters to plastic ready-to-use composters and from large to small. It’s not just the materials that can differ, there are all manner of solutions such as Wormeries, food digesters, compost tumblers and hot composters to consider.
To make an informed decision, keep the following prime needs in consideration:
- Protection from the elements (wind sun and rain)
- Permit the access of worms and other beneficial invertebrates
- Keeps heat in (dark colour /insulated/location)
- Easy to fill up and to access the compost
- Size appropriate to your garden
Also, read through our guide to learn more about composting which one will be best for you:
Heat is needed for a compost heap to break down efficiently without moulding. The simplest and perhaps easiest option is to go for a plastic compost bin (like our Rotol and Garden Kings). Usually conical, they are simple, durable and lightweight (make sure the plastic is UV treated so it won’t go brittle after a year or two in the sun). Many sizes are available but one much smaller than 220L capacity is going to struggle to get any decent heat generation going so may take considerably longer to produce compost. If you generate enough kitchen and garden waste having two or more composters makes life easier. One finishing off the composting whilst the other is being gradually filled up.
Why not browse through our hot composter section, as well?
A word on access hatches and doors. Whilst popular and selling 10 times more than models without doors they are not perhaps quite as beneficial as they first appear. The principal is a simple and attractive one. Put the waste in at the top and extract the compost via a hatch at the bottom. So far so good and essentially this is what happens. However, the compost will be moist so it won’t simply drop down easily when you take the first lot out – you will have to prod around or push it down from the top. No real problem just not such the easy-task one might assume.
This is a serious consideration for those making their own ericaceous compost as you will need a large opening to tip your lime-free sand and peat compost in. A wooden composter with a decent capacity would be ideal for those who need to make this compost as they have a large opening and you can access the finished product easily.
Garden & Household Size
Most of us do not wish to have a composter that takes up too much room in their gardens so take measurement and aesthetics into account when starting your search. It is good to know how much waste you will be putting into your composter first and whether you generally produce a lot of kitchen waste.
Large Garden, Large Household
If you have a larger garden, the chances are you will have more grass cuttings and dead leaves come autumn which may mean you need a larger composter. Also, having more than three people in a household may produce a considerable amount of kitchen waste. If you are a beginner, a hot composter may be a good solution. These break down waste at a faster pace which means you can feed organic rubbish in more frequently. Hot composters are good for dead leaves and green waste, which can take longer to break down than kitchen waste.
If you have already started your composting project, expansion may be on your mind. A specific wooden leaf composter with mesh sides for aeration is a place to put just green waste. You can add to the heat retention properties by putting a rectangle of old carpet or a compost duvet on top of the compost. Wooden composters usually have at least one side with removable slats or a wide lid so accessing the finished compost is easy. You can add kitchen waste, too but these are built to help manage organic garden rubbish. This can be in addition to a kitchen compost bin such as a Wormery, which is primarily used for breaking kitchen waste down and producing liquid plant feed, or a Green Cone Food Digester for food cuttings and peelings.
Large Garden, Small Household
With a larger garden with a lawn and trees, you may have more green waste but with a smaller household (less that three people) you may not produce much kitchen waste at all. Due to this, you will need a composter that can accommodate both but not in equal amounts. Again, this is where hot composters can be helpful. A garden compost bin such as a 400L Aerobin is built to handle some tougher wastes such as branches and bush trimmings, perfect for larger gardens and avid gardeners.
Tumbling composters can be advantageous in this situation as they mix up types of waste whilst keeping the inside quite warm, thus accelerating the breakdown. The 140L Tumbling Composter maintains a high temperature, high capacity and breaks down lumps and clumps when spun.
Small Garden, Small Household
Having a small garden and a household of just 3 people and under means your compostable waste is limited. Although, this does not mean you shouldn’t collect green and kitchen waste for the benefit of your garden and indoor plants.
For kitchen waste, a small Wormery might be perfect. These produce plant feed which can be used on indoor plants as well as outdoor patches. A Midi Wormery fits into a kitchen cupboard nicely and will process food waste in an environmentally friendly way without the need for a garden composter (perfect if you live in a flat). Bokashi composting is another space effective way of processing your kitchen waste in an environmentally friendly way, but without the need for worms. A single 18L Bokashi Bin will fit in a cupboard but will help you live more sustainably.
For gardens, a smaller capacity, easy to use composter will be perfect for grass and small trimmings. A 220L Compost Converter in Black or Green will keep vermin out whilst maintaining the heat needed to break down garden waste.
Small Garden, Large Household
As seen in the small garden, small household, a smaller capacity composter like a 220L Garden King Composter will process your garden waste efficiently but will also be able to handle kitchen waste.
In addition to helping you choose the right composter for you, we have a huge range of composting accessories. This includes food waste caddies that allow aeration, books on composting, liquids that accelerate the composting process for leaves and grass, and many other products that will assist your composting project.
You can of course nail a few old pallets together or do away with any container at all and just have a compost heap or pile. To be frank there is nothing wrong with this at all, but composting will take at least twice as long (and probably more) as it would in a decent container. Still if you have the space and the time and want to see if it works, try it out!
These days there are numerous composters available; from home made to purchased and from large to small; from wooden to metal or plastic and from static to tumbler the choice can be a touch confusing to the uninitiated. Not to mention price, aesthetics and design feature options such as bases, aeration vents or holes and access hatches. With the right guidance, and a little research, you can find the perfect composter for your household and needs.