1. Conical Plastic Compost bins
In this section, we will consider the some of the most popular types of bin in use for the composting of uncooked kitchen and garden waste today bins made from recycled plastic. There are a wide range of plastic bins available starting with the simple “Dalek”, available from many Councils at a subsidised price of about £15 delivered (See www. Getcomposting.com). These bins are often the first bin owned by many people and forms their introduction to composting. However the range of plastic bins is large and there are a variety of more expensive and better bins to which composters can progress. These include square, slotted and insulated bins with larger models compete with thermometers, to monitor temperature costing several hundred pounds.
The details below is not exhaustive but if I have missed one which you as a user or supplier would like included please contact me.
These bins consist of a recycled plastic open at the top and bottom. They are supplied with a separate lid and, in some cases a base. They may have an inspection or harvesting hatch at the bottom. In some models, the hatch is held in place by pushing part of it behind the edge of the bin. When the bin is filled, it may distort slightly making refitting difficult after harvesting and overtime the plastic edges of the hatch may split. Given a choice I think it is better to pay a little more and get one of the versions with a sliding hatch. In most cases the hatch is relatively small and although it is relatively easy to harvest compost using a border spade many people prefer to harvest and remix the compost by tapping the bin to loosen the contents and lifting the bin leaving a neat compost mound. The empty bin can be placed on the ground next to the heap and the uncomposted material forked into the now empty bin. I have a colleague who uses this technique to aerate the compost emptying and refilling the bin fortnightly.
This style of bin is normally supplied in black or green. The bin is light in weight and can be easily lifted off the compost for emptying and moved round the garden to meet changing needs. Empty or partly filled bin, tops or hatches may be blown across the garden or allotment site by strong winds. On allotments this enables plot holders to play hunt the bin and talk others on the lotte. Labelling bins, lids and hatches with the plot number saves problems during any bin identity parade after a storm.
This type of bin is normally placed directly on the soil in a sunny part of the garden or plot. As they tend to be relatively small with a capacity of 200 or 300 litres, they are likely to dry out in the summer and may need the occasional addition of water or preferably the sludge from Compost Tea making. As the bin is not insulated it will only work effectively during the warmer months and will slow down or stop during the winter.
Bases which seal the bottom of the bin reducing the likelihood of rats gaining access can be purchased for some models. The lid is usually of a simple push-on design.
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Blackwall Composter Converter
Available from www getcomposting.com
The Blackwall Compost Converter is made from recycled plastic and supplied in two sizes, 220 litre and the 330 litre. I would recommend the larger size as the smaller bins are more likely to dry out during the summer. Fitted with a hatch held in place by pushing part of it behind the edge of the bin, which as mentioned may become difficult if the bin is filled and distorted slightly. These composters are available at subsidised prices in many Council areas. 220 litre was voted best "BUDGET BUY" in the December 2012 issue of Gardeners' World.
A good value introductory bin. I have 5 of these three at home and two on the allotment.
Prices increase from 1 April for Leicestersire residents for these bins purchased from Get composting:
Rotol Compost Convertor.
Available from www.originalorganics.co.uk Price at March 2014 £ 29.95
The Rotol Compost Convertors is manufactured in Devonshire from 100% recycled. It was winner of Gardening WHICH? Best Buy.
The conical shape of this composter makes it easy to lift off the compost for through mixing or harvesting. The Rotol Compost Convertor is available in 220 and 300 litre sizes and can also be bought as a kit which includes a Sheffield Steel Compost Aerator Tool and a 5 Litre Air-tight White Kitchen Caddy.
Garden King Composter
Available from www.originalorganics.co.uk Price at March 2014 £34.95
Garden King Composters are also manufactured in Devonshire from 100% recycled materials and moulded to a robust design with an easy to use sliding access hatch.
The Garden King is available in 220 and 330 litre sizes and can also be bought as a kit which includes a Sheffield Steel Compost Aerator Tool and a 5 Litre Air-tight White Kitchen Caddy
Available from www.garantia.co.uk
The Eco composteris one of a wide range of plastic compost bins made by Garantia. Others are listed below.
The Eco has a one-piece feed opening (lid) with wind protection. Easy harvesting with a big flap with handle. good ventilation and is made from 100% recycled material (PP)
Available from www.garantia.co.uk
The rapid composter is also made from recycled material has a capacity of 280 litres. It has a two part hinged lid for ease of filling and a sliding door for easy harvesting of the compost. There is a perforated bottom with air channel.
Available from www.greatgreensystems.com Price March 2014 £108
A hot composter, the Green Johanna recycles garden and kitchen waste including cooked food, bones, meat and fish.
The Green Johanna provides good ventilation with an adjustable lid and base. Unlike many systems it should be installed in a shady part of the garden. It is designed for kitchen waste from up to five people together with the compostable waste produced from an average garden. It has two sliding doors making it easy to harvest. A winter jacket can be supplied to keep it operating when the average outdoor temperature consistently falls below 5°C.
We have a Green Johanna in use at the Compost Corner demonstration Site at Snibston Discovery Museum
2. Cube shaped/staight sided composters
Cube shaped, staight side or box bins fit well in corners of a modern garden and many have larger hatches than the conical bins. This is a bit of a catch all group as some have rounded corners but in most cases the base and top are the same size. The shape of this type of bin makes it easy to insulated using loft lagging, bubble wrap or even bales of straw to carry on composting during the cooler months.
260L Compost Box
Available from www.originalorganics.co.uk Price at March 2014 £ 39.95
The Composter box with a capacity 260L is cube shaped making it easy to fit into a corner. It has a twin opening hinged lid, making it easy to load, and sliding front door panel across most of its 60cm width for ease of harvesting. It has air slots to help circulate air and speed up the composting process during the warm summer months
Available from www.garantia.co.uk Price March 2014: 400litre £44.57, 600litre £54.49
Easy filling with two large flaps and easy and convenient withdrawal of compost. Available in sizes 400 litres and 600 litres with a choice of green and black
ThermoQuick Thermal Composter
Available from www.originalorganics.co.uk Price at March 2014 £64.99
The ThermoQuick is a cube shaped composter with a roundedcorners. It is available in two sizes 400 and 600 Litre.
It has air slots to allow air to circulate accelerating the composting process .The lid can be adjusted to stay up by itself and the "lid-grabber" hinges hold the lid in place. Fitted with good size hatches for easy harvesting Supplied in five easy to assemble panels.
Tekplas Compost Bin 500 Litre capacity.
Available from www.tekplas.co.uk Price March 2014 £66 Compost Bin, AddOn £51.60
This UK manufactured garden compost bin is made in upvc but looks like a conventional New Zealand box providing a modern twist on the conventional bin that has been used by generations of gardeners. It is supplied with four galvanised steel ground stakes which fit inside the corner posts and brace bars giving stability to the finished bin. We have found this to be a bit of a problem where the brace bars move in the ground. The green plastic tongue and grooved twin wall boards provides good insulation which I feel will more than compensate for the fact that the bin is smaller than the conventional 1m cube recommended for wooden bins having 80cm sides. The plastic boards can be removed in the same way as the wooden boards of a traditional bin. “Add ons” are available so that bins can be linked together to make a 2 or 3 bin system. The bin could also be used as a Maturation bin for compost produced using one of the smaller tumbler composters.
Komp Thermo Composters
Price March 2014:
200litre £75, 250 litre £83, 320l £85, 420l £99, 700l £144, 800l £155, 1050 litre £175,
I do not have the prices for the 1130, 1400, 2,000 or the 640litre
The Komp Thermo Composters are vertical modular aerated systems manufactured from recycled PE.
The bins consist of thick modular panels with ventilation holes to improve aeration. The panels are connected using plastic rods, which can be partially removed to allow a panel to be opened to harvest the compost. There is a hinged lid.
The smaller capacity bins have four vertical sides while the larger models have six or eight.
The four sided Komp 420 compost bin has conical sides and uses a similar pin system for simple and easy assembly.
We have a Komp 250 in use at the University of Leicester Botanic Garden Demonstration site
Available from www.garantia.co.uk Price March 2014 400litres £67, 600 litre £81, 900litre £125
As with most plastic composters this model is made from recycled material and is available in three sizes 400l, 600l, 900l. Easy filling through a lid with two big flaps. The “Wind-Fix-lid” has summer and winter position to regulate the air circulation and protect against the wind. Faster composting through an optimal aeration system and the foamed thermo walls.
Available from www.garantia.co.uk
The Thermo –Star issupplied in 400l and 600 litre sizes but being a a modular system the Thermo-Star 400 can be extended to 600 Litres
The Thermo-Star is made of Thermolen®. Which offers insulating characteristics in addition this bin has ventilation slots . Removal of compost is possible on every side of the composter
The appointed UK for this product is changing.
For details of the 400l model contact. email@example.com .
Stocks of the 200 Litre Aerobin but not the 400 Litre Aerobin is still available from GreenGoodsUK - firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are two Aerobin models
The Aerobin 200 at 200 litres and the the Aerobin 400
This is an insulated bin which includes a Moisture Recirculation System and an “Aeration Lung”, an arrangement of cones and tubesriseing from the base through the centre of the compost providing ventilation avoid the need to aerate the compost by turning . It is also has a Leachate Reservoir which collects liquid run off and can be used as a a liquid fertiliser when diluted approximately 20 parts water to 1 part leachate. The bins have two removable large doors making harvesting easy although you do have to work round the Aeration Lung. This is used an Aerobin 400l for a number of years and have been impressed by the build quality.
http://www.hotbincomposting.com Price March 2014 £165 basic £185 extra
A 200litre insulated hot composting bin reaching temperatures of between 40-60°c breaking down waste into compost in 30 – 90 days killing pathogens and weed seeds as a bonus. The composter provides all year composting of food, including cooked food, and garden waste with the addition of bulking agent to the mix to keep the air flowing inside the bin. The bin is shaped like a wheelie bin having a large hinged lid and a large panel for ease of emptying. Thermometer and filter are also available. A bin can be seen in use at Compost Corner Demonstration site page. Photos of the compost being harvested are on other pages of this site.
Biolan 220eco Composter
Available from http://shop.biolan.co.uk Price March 2014 £938.09
The Biolan 220 is designed for year-round composting of kitchen waste from a household of 1-6 people. It has a thermo-insulated structure and the efficient ventilation system. There is an adjustable valve for ventilation and a patented ventilation system. The shape is designed to return the condensed moisture to the composting material.
Biolan Garden Composter
Available from http://shop.biolan.co.uk Price March 2014 £416.35
900-litre capacity the Biolan Garden Composter will intended particularly for composting garden ( it will also take toilet waste but we will not go there but for those who are interested Biolan also make Composting Toilets)
Easy filling through a large flap lock . The cover also has an adjustable air valve. The dense structure and adjustable ventilation helps retain the moisture content strongly built, enables ot withstand variations of weather and frost. An aluminium mesh base basket is available to prevent access by rodents and provide ventilation.
The manufactures describe the shape as concial and this means it can be emptied by lifting it off the compost but I have included on this page as the footprint is rectangular in shape,
Biolan Stone Composter/Hotrock Garden Composter
Available from http://shop.biolan.co.uk Price March 2014 £699.00
The 450litre Stone Composter can be used for composting garden and household waste. The Stone Composter due to its rock colour and texture will blend into the garden environment and can therefore be used even in a smallish garden. It Accepts food, garden waste and animal waste and is insulated for all year composting Large hinged lid.