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Aluminum a good bin material?

Hello there,
I'm looking to start my very first compost bin (after years of living in apartments and traveling too much to do it!) and since I work for a company that makes aluminum cases, have an opportunity to buy the ones that come back damaged. I'm wondering if one of these would make a good compost bin. I would have holes drilled in the bottom and top for drainage/ moisture.

Any advice you could give would be much appreciated.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Hi Gina and welcome. Your aluminum box would certainly generate a lot of heat and cook your compost quickly. Air flow is important so you will need LOTS of rather large holes all around the bottom and sides. You will need an attachment for your drill that cuts a hole 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter. You need as much open space as you have closed space. Unless you have a problem with critters remove the lid. If you know someone with a welding torch have them cut the front panel out to about 1' above the bottom. That will make accessing and turning your compost much easier. If you can, get 2 boxes and place them next to each other so you can turn from one to the other. Unless you get lots of rain you will need to water your bins 2 or 3 times each week. Not just a sprinkle but a dousing. Also turn at least once each week. The heat generated by the aluminum will cook your pile very fast. Once you start composting you will get hooked.

There are several excellent post in the composting forum on what and what not to use in your bin and the ratio of browns versus greens.

Good luck

Greener Thumb
Posts: 970
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: MO

I have never tried aluminum but I did make a bin out of a steel drum once. It corroded in record time, due to the highly active microbial environment which produces a lot of weak organic acids. Aerobic composting is basically 'rusting' of organic matter. :-] So I wonder if the same might happen to the aluminum. It tends to be much more resistant to corrosion, but I'd keep an eye on it, and maybe don't spend a huge amount of effort making your first one, in case it dissolves in a couple of seasons.

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