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How Do Compost Bins Work?

What is a compost bin?

Put simply, a compost bin is a container or enclosure that’s used to store and decompose organic materials, producing nutrient-rich compost to feed your plants and garden with as a result. Compost bins are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, forming wooden, plastic, and tumbler options to suit all gardening needs.

How does a compost bin work?

Compost bins are designed to encourage proper aeration and moisture retention to create the most ideal environment for aerobic organisms (bacteria and fungi) to break down your waste, helping your compost production thrive. It’s also thanks to the high, humid temperature in the compost bin which helps transform the organic materials into compost.

The decomposition process will always naturally occur in a heap of organic matter, however, the compost bin has gained its fame and popularity over the years due to its ability to speed up this process so dramatically, whilst keeping the pile of materials neat and easily accessible. It’s also important to note how compost bins provide a key restrictor from unwanted pests and rodents in your garden too.

Maze Compost Bin & Tumbler

Shop the Maze Composting Tumbler here!

To get the best out of your compost, the ratio of green to brown organic matter thrown into your composter needs to be considered. We suggest aiming for between 25 and 50% soft green materials (such as grass, annual weeds, fruit and vegetable waste) to feed the microorganisms, whilst the remainder should be woody brown material (including wood chippings, cardboard, small twigs and trimmed branches, straw, and dead leaves).

Using a compost bin:

So, we know that choosing the right materials to throw in your compost bin gives the microorganisms the best chance to produce the healthiest, most nutritious compost for your garden. However, not all food scraps are necessarily healthy ingredients for your compost bin, as some are likely to attract unwanted visitors in your garden, and also worsen the quality of your compost.

There’s brown organic matter, which is dry and woody, and green organic matter, which is more moist and ‘fresh’. Below is a quick list to help you decide what you can and can’t compost. For a more extensive description, visit an earlier blog of ours here.

Compostable matter

Do Compost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, including eggshells
  • Houseplants and yard waste (just make sure they’re free from diseases and pesticides, otherwise they’ll transfer it into your compost)
  • Brown paper scraps (such as unwaxed cardboard, newspaper, paper towels, coffee filter paper)
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Hair and fur
  • Nut shells
  • Wood shavings, sawdust, small twigs and branches (the smaller, the better for decomposing)

Do Not Compost:

  • Animal and seafood byproducts (excluding hot compost bins, which can generally handle this kind of waste)
  • Dairy produce (including fats, such as oil, butter, and grease)
  • Diseased plants
  • Pet and human feces
  • Foam, plastic, glass, and metal

Now the materials have been added, it’s important to turn the produce every now and then, keeping air circulating to support the aerobic decomposition, whilst breaking up the waste before it gets too wet or clogged up. If the latter happens, the composting process becomes much slower. We have just the tool for this, with our Compost Aerator.

Ideally, place a big heap of your organic matter into the compost bin in one go, and turn it roughly once per month to introduce some air and oxygen. There’s nothing too wrong with adding the waste accumulatively over time, it’s just the end compost may not be of as high a quality as you’d hope for.

Tips for successful composting with a bin:

It’s also important to choose the right compost bin for your home and garden’s needs. We stock a wide selection of composters here at EvenGreener, ranging from 80 to 330 litre sizes, amongst a whole host of recycled plastic, tumbler, hot composting, and even wormery options.

The newest range of composters we offer includes the super-affordable Budget 439 Litre Wooden Compost Bin, as seen below. Made from a combination of European Spruce, Pine, and Fir Wood, to give this composter a natural, rustic finish, it requires no tools, screws or hammers, allowing you to set up and get composting straight away.

439L Budget Wooden Composter

Buy yours here!

The Beehive-style 211 Litre Wooden Compost Bin is another gorgeous new entry in our composting collection, which is perfect for the start of your spring gardening. The design of this composter brings a truly unique display piece for any garden, whilst the practicality of it produces rich, healthy compost thanks to the specially designed aeration vents to maximise oxygenation for your waste.

Beehive 211L Compost Bin

Shop here!


So, there’s a quick guide on how to get the best out of your compost. Follow this guide and recycle plenty of goodness back into your garden, made much easier by our wonderful range of compost bins. Shop the range here, and start your EvenGreener journey today.

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