Successful composting systems can take many different forms and can be purchased or homemade. In choosing the right composting system, you should consider the following questions:
- Will you be composting food scraps, yard trimmings, or both? If you include food scraps, you should use a rodent-resistant bin (no openings larger than 1/4"). Worm bins are good if you’re composting only food scraps.
- What volume of composting materials will you be producing? For large volumes you may need more than one bin.
- Do you have a big or small space to keep your bin?
- Will you need more than one compost bin to simplify management of materials in different stages of decomposition?
- What is your budget? Homemade bins are cheap and they work just fine.
Worm composting is unique because
it uses food scraps only, and no yard waste. It
is ideal for people with very small yards, or no
yard. Worm composting bins can be made in any
size or can be purchased. Worm bins are designed
to exclude critters that might be attracted to food
scraps. A successful worm bin will not smell,
can be harvested every few months and can be kept
indoors or outdoors. Find out where
to buy or how to construct
a worm bin!
This is the cheapest form of composting and
is great if you have lots of yard trimmings and a moderate
to large area to locate your heap. This system can
be problematic if there are animals like raccoons,
deer or dogs that are likely to scavenge the pile. A
heap or open pile should be covered in the rainy season.
of bin is inexpensive and can be made out of wire and
stakes, or bought as an adjustable plastic enclosure,
with or without a lid.Hoops are enclosed and are tidier
than a heap and can be moved and covered easily, but
are not animal resistant. Some hoops are adjustable. Find
out where to buy hoop
One Bin System
A one bin system can be square, circular, or cone
shaped and can be commercial or homemade. Most
commercial bins have lids and ventilation and may
be animal resistant. These bins are good for
smaller yards, material volumes and areas with animals. Bins
aid in moisture and heat retention. Many people
prefer to have an enclosed bin because it is more
attractive. However, they can be hard to turn
and harvest. Free or reduced price compost
bins are available to most
Santa Cruz County residents through their local waste
hauler. Find out where
to buy single-bin systems!
Multi Bin System
This is a great system for a household or community
space generating a significant amount of waste. This
system is efficient, allowing you to have 3 working
piles at different stages of decomposition and it is
easy to turn and harvest. This style bin can
be made animal resistant.
construction plans for a multi bin system.
self-contained barrels, drums or balls rotate for easy
mixing and fast decomposition. They are more
expensive than other systems, but can be more convenient
because they are easier to turn. These bins are fine
for small spaces and are usually animal resistant.
plans for a rotating barrel composter.