How to compost:Types of bin

We have details of composting techniques on other pages including  Composting methodCompost methods 2  and  Hot Composting

On this page we offer a short introduction to the types of bins available to help you make your choice.

Compost Heap

A compost bin is not necessary for composting it is quite possible to make compost by making a pile of garden waste and leaves in a corner of the garden.  Indeed a large heap turned frequently can creat compost more quickly than just leaving it in a plastic bin. However, a heap does not look tidy, makea a welcome home or snack bar for vermin.  

Follow this internal link   Composting methods

Moulded Plastic bins

Plastic bins can be purchased in a range of sizes and shaped the most common of which (in the UK) is the Dalek available through local council schemes, Most of these bins will include a hatch for removing the finished compost. A base plate may be available. These bins  make an excellent  as an entry level compost bin. They are ready for immediate use  are long lasting and can be moved easily when empty.  They are best suited  to "cold composting"  The shape of the bin tends to make it difficult to turn the compost using a fork but the material can be easily aerated using a compost aerator.  Compost will be produced in about 12-18 months even if not turned. They can be emptied by means of the hatch or tipped over to make harvesting easier.

 Plastic Compost Bins

Sectional Plastic Compost bins

These tend to be larger than the allin one moulded bins. They tend to be easier to empty as they have a larger hatch and on some models any of the bottom sections can be opened. They normally have a hinged lid buton some models the "hinges" may break with regular use.  They are also normally larger and more expensive than the moulded bins and require assembly. 

Plastic Compost Bins

Wooden Compost bins

These traditional wooden bin have been used for years  in gardens and  on allotments. The simplest of which can be made of three of four pallets. They can also be purchased form garden suppliers in a wide range of sizes and prices. These normally have a removable (slatted) front for ease of turning and harvest of the compost.  This style of bin is often used in a bank of three or four with the composting materials be turned from one bin to the next as it is aeratred. They can also be used for hot composting which will produce finished compost in a few weeks.

Wooden Compost bins

Tumbler Composters

These bins are designed to rapidly batch compost waste by aerating the material by rotating or rolling the  bin. There are a variety of designs ranging from barrel shaded bins rotated vertically, horizontal bins resembling a tombola mixer  both types are mounted off the ground on  a frame and  turning and round balls rotated by rolling. The bins are best filled in a single batch.   Some designs have two chambers allowing two batches to be composted.  Tumblers  tend to be relatively expensive and some styles are heavy to turn when full.

 Tumbler Composters


Most commercially available wormeries  used in the UK are designed for domestic kitchen waste (although there are versions sold for treated dog poo). They are available with a single chamber for the worms and waste or with a number of trays that are stacked one upon the other. All have a reservoir to collect the “worm wee” which can be diluted and used a as a liquid plant food.

Wormeries    Dog & Cat Poo

Green Johanna

Domestic Composters suitable for cooked food  waste and garden waste

This bin will hot compost kitchen and garden waste  ( 2 parts kitchen waste :1-part garden waste)  the materials are added in layers with an additional soil or compost layer to act as a starter. If the top layers are aerated, it will produce compost in four to six months. A coat can be purchased to keep it working at air temperature  below 5°C.

Composting Food  


Domestic Composters suitable for cooked food  waste and garden waste

An excellant insulated bin that will compost kitchen and garden waste in about 90 days or less  if kept operating at 40-60°C.  At these temperatures weed seeds and plant pathogens will be killed.

Composting Food

Joraform K125 (or Jora K125)

The Joraform K125 (or little pig)  is the smallest model in the Joraform range it is a insulated dual chamber food composter suitable for a large family, small café or as a demonstration model for a school. The K125 can recycle up to 1.5kg a day. The metal body makes it rodent proof

Composting Food

Other systems Bokashi fermenters

An indoor system that will ferment cooked food into a precompost that can then be added to a conventional compost bin or buried straight into the garden. Two bins are normally used alternatively on being filled while the other is fermenting. Need to buy special bran.  There are low cost bins now available in the UK well worth giving a try if  your main bin is cold composting e.g a dalek

Bokashi Composting

Other systems : Green Cone food Digester

This is not a compost bin but a food digester. The lower basket section of this bin, which contains the waste, is buried in the garden  with the cone acting as a solar heater. The food waste is digested by a bacterial mix that is added. It needs good drainage.