Natureboy44
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Compost Bin Shopping - Need Help from you Experts

Okay so I am brand new to composting. I have been wanting to do it for the longest time but havn't for some odd reason. However now I am breaking down and getting a compost bin. However, I have a few questions for you guys. Please bear with me reading this long post but I really really need the help deciding. So I have been threw many online reviews of compost bins and read up on a variety of them. I have come down to two or so I think. If there are anything better out there please feel free to chime in. But the two I have my eyes on are the Compost Wizard (https://www.compostbins.com/compost-bins/compost-tumblers/rotocomposter12cubicfeetcompostbin.cfm) and the Nature Mill XE Series.



Now let me illustrate a picture for you of why I can't decide between these two compost bins. First off I will be living in an apartment with two other roommates. Colorado is where I will be living which of course has quite the cold weather. I was concerned if I purchased a compost bin that during the winter (which in colorado seems to last forever) it would become nearly nonexistant. Now correct me if I am wrong I'm no expert but I read that during the winter that if the compost bins loose heat that they will slow the process. This leads to not being able to put much waste into the compost bin. To avoid this I thought well maybe I'll bring it inside but for the courtesy of my roomates I didn't want to bring in a smelly compost bin and set it in the middle of our kitchen. I don't have a huge amount of room outside either as all that I have is a small porch to place the compost bin so no huge backyard or anything so I was looking for a rather compact compost bin: Nature Mill & Compost Wizard.




So here it leads me to the Nature Mill compost bin. There are many benefits of this one that I have read so far. It is small, compact and easily used indoors. It has a filter for the smell and as I read you can constantly keep adding stuff to it and it will break them down. (Of course balancing the brown & green items) I read somewhere that compost bins you sometimes have to hold off on adding items. Nature mill however is different says the online website. Also with nature mill you can add dairy/meat unlike other compost bins.



So nature mill has a lot of awesome things but the one downside is that it uses electricity to speed up the process by heating and stirring the contents. Is this awful? I hate how these days we resort to technology to make everything faster and we can't simply rely on nature to do it for us. But with all the points I made earlier I really want this Nature Mill. But using electricity is hypocritical or goofy seeing as it's meant to be a natural process. Is it not? Am I making a bigger deal of it than it really is? Apparently it uses less or the equivalent energy than a light bulb but for some reason the electricity is making me hesitant to purchase it. It says .50 cents of electricity each month.




Other than that the Nature Mill sounds AWESOME compared to the Compost Wizard. On the other hand Compost Wizard seems great for the more "natural approach." Help me decide if you can. Offer your composting wisdom :) Thanks so much in advance! I need to purchase one soon as I move in soon but cannot decide.
Last edited by Natureboy44 on Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:47 pm, edited 11 times in total.

cynthia_h
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I cannot read long, unbroken paragraphs on computer monitors, so can't finish your explanation. *Sorry*

I *would* recommend, though, that you check with your local city or county, whichever provides solid-waste services. Many municipalities and counties across North America now offer subsidized compost bins to residents. My favorite example is my own:

In the '80s, the City of Berkeley--where I lived then--offered BioStack compost bins for $33.00. BioStacks were retailing for $100 then. Good deal, huh? Well, we thought so, and purchased one from Berkeley. Berkeley *still* offers them for $33, even though the retail price has shot up tremendously!

The county where I live now offers worm habitats for approx. 50% of retail. I haven't looked into the compost bins, b/c I still have the BioStack after all this time. It still does a great job, but the lid has gotten a little out of square. I keep it on the bin by using a couple of large, heavy bricks to weight it down.

So check with local sources; in addition to offering subsidized bins, they may have good recommendations for specific models for your personal conditions.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Natureboy44
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Fixed it for ya. Sorry!

cynthia_h
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Thank you! I dropped back by and read the entire situation.

You have what's known in some circles as an "interesting" problem. (Which I've always interpreted as meaning: "I'm interested in helping, but I'm glad I don't absolutely have to solve it." :?)

But let me provide more input here. Said "input" is all over the lot, but everything relates to one aspect or another of your question.

--At least one member of THG (who lives in New England) has had experience with the NatureMill model and another in-kitchen composter: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20932

--The footprint of the NatureMill is 12" x 20"; the footprint of the Compost Wizard is 36" x 29". Perhaps the CW could fit onto the porch?

--The power demand of the NatureMill is 5 kwh/month. It's described as "the equivalent of a night light."

--Composting need not involve mess or odors, whether or not electricity is used.

--Vermicomposting may actually be what you're looking for, although it's not recommended for dairy or meat. No electricity needed.

--Bokashi is a kind of composting, too (I have no experience with it, but many on THG do), and is reputed to deal very well with dairy and meat. No electricity needed.

--Start-up costs for the two bins you've selected are quite high. If you can call your local solid-waste provider Monday morning (or find him/her/it online this weekend), I'm sure you'll find a better deal! And maybe a similar footprint.

Check out the many posts available here at THG on vermicomposting (also called composting with worms, worm composting, etc.) and bokashi composting. Their start-up costs are very low, esp. if subsidized by the local solid-waste provider. Use the "Search the Forum" tag at the top of the page, just to the left of "Log Out [name]."

Hope it all works out! :D

Cynthia

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rainbowgardener
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Agree with cynthia re vermicomposting may be your best solution.

But one other note about winter composting: I compost only with a compost pile on the ground in a simple wire grid bin to keep the goodies in and the critters out. I compost all winter, but much of the winter the pile is frozen and isn't doing much. It doesn't matter, I just keep dumping the kitchen scraps on it and covering it with fall leaves from bags I collected.

In the spring as soon as it warms up, it all starts composting. In the meantime unless you folks make TONS of kitchen garbage, it is hard to fill up a reasonable sized bin. Even in winter, the freeze thaw cycle, etc is breaking it down.
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