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3 Stupidly Easy Compost Bin Plans

Updated on September 5, 2014

Composting has gotten really complicated lately. There are all kinds of compost recipes, compost bin plans, and styles of composting out there. Each of them requiring more work than the next.

As one of the laziest humans on the planet, I'd rather not spend a whole week (or even month) researching and eventually building a big, fancy compost bin that's going to meet every one of my composting fantasies. The main thing I need from my compost bin is compost.

Here are 5 stupidly simple compost bin plans that will get you up and running within a day.

Compost Bin Plan #1: The Classic Pile

My personal favorite, and the only bin of the bunch that costs nothing in either time or money.

For fastest results, just start a compost pile!
For fastest results, just start a compost pile! | Source

The pile is by far the most elegant design of the bunch. There's no frills, no walls or containers to get in and out of when you're shoveling, and best of all, it's no extra work and completely free. If you're having trouble getting started with compost, this is the design you probably want.

Now with that said, there are a few drawbacks to the pile method. First, it's fairly unsightly. Neighbors, significant others, and guests tend to be a little put off by a big pile of rotting organic material in your yard.

Also, compost piles tend to dry out faster than compost in an actual bin. You want your compost to always be moist.

The Pros and Cons of the Pile Method

Extremely easy to start
Somewhat unsightly
Completely free
Dries out easily
Easy to shovel and maintain
Not rodent/critter proof

Compost Bin Plan #2: The Old Trash Can

If the classic pile isn't for you, the next best thing is an old trash can.

The old trash can compost bin method.
The old trash can compost bin method. | Source

The trash can compost bin is probably my second-favorite method. Unlike the pile it costs whatever it takes to use an old trash-can. You'll also need to drill holes in the side to let oxygen in. Another good thing to do is drill holes in the bottom (at least 1/4" thick) to let worms in from the ground.

Trash cans are also a little better than piles at keeping moisture in and critters out. The only real drawback is the extraction of the compost itself. The best way to harvest your compost is to dump out the contents, separate the fully composted material from the rest, and dump the uncomposted stuff back in.

The Pros and Cons of the Old Trash Can Method

Locks in moisture
You'll need to drill holes in it
Keeps rodents/critters out
More difficult to harvest compost
Free if you have an old one lying around
Costs around $30 if you have to buy it new

Compost Bin Plan #3: The Old Tire Method

An easy method that lasts forever and adds natural heat to the composting process.


There are a few things to note about the tire method.

The first is that it's usually free. You can use almost any old tires you can find. I find them in empty lots along busy highways all the time. You can also go to a tire place and ask for any tires they might have thrown away that day.

The second thing to note is that tires can add a lot of natural heat to your compost, especially if you put the pile in the sun. Retaining heat is an important factor in encouraging microbial breakdown.

Third, tires last forever. They won't break down in the sun like a plastic trash can. Rubber is extremely resistant to the elements.

If you want to make your tire compost bin really nice, you could cut the tire walls out and stack the treads on top of each other, securing them together with zip ties through drilled holes. However, just stacking them up is an option too. Whatever floats your boat.

Pros and Cons of the Tire Compost Bin

Can be free if you can find tires
Unsightly in a nice yard
Adds natural heat to compost
A little more work than pile or trashcan
Lasts forever

Whatever you choose, remember that compost bins are over-rated. The goal here is to generate rich, dark compost as quickly and painlessly as possible. To do that, all you really need is to throw a lot of organic matter on the ground. Nature does a fantastic job of generating compost with or without the help of a bin. Keep that in mind, and you can't go wrong no matter what kind of bin you choose.


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