6. Jan, 2021

Tyre compost bins

Old tyres can be used to make a compost bin and there was a time when they were appearing on allotments all over the country. Using tyres in this way had the   advantage providing a bin at no-cost and of saving the cost of disposal  while the plot was occupied by the person who built the bin. However, when that individual left the site the Society, landlord or next tenant  was faced with the cost of disposing of the tyres. As a result, tyres have rightly been  banned from many allotment sites. However, people may choose to use them at home,  and I have updated this information at the request of some of these readers.

  The bin was usually used in a   stack of 5 car tyres (larger tyres while making a larger bin too heavy for many people to handle safely). The bin is best built on a paving slab or weldmesh  base  to restrict the entry of rats through the bottom of the bin. The sides are rat proof as radial tyres contain steel wire . The rims of the tyres can be packed with old plastic compost bags or damp browns such as autumn leaves,  straw or hay this provides an area of additional bedding for the composting worms. A modified method which makes the tyres lighter to handle is to cut off  the tyre sidewalls using an  electric saber saw. If the bin  is to  be mounted on a slab once the bottom trye is in position can be filled with worm rich compost from an existing bin to act as a starter. Normally the stack will consist of five tyres to give a convenient working height. Unless the tyres are large and heavy in is best to wire them together in case, they are knocked  over, but this is unlikely as once filled the construction is quite stable. A piece of plywood cut to size or an old compost bin lid can be used as a cover held in position by a bungee cord.

  There are reports of chemicals leaching from the tyres. One of the other disadvantages of using tyres is that the compost at the bottom of the bin can only be harvested by removing the other tyres, so once full the bin needs to be left until all the compost is  ready and it is then best left for a year or two before use.