There is a multitude of options when it comes to composting. If you live in a small space with no yard, you may opt for a small container to hold food scraps until you take them to your local compost trade spot. However, if you have a yard of any size, a wire composting bin might be the perfect solution for your gardening and recycling needs.
What is a Wire Compost Bin?
A wire compost bin is one of the most popular ways to compost due to its inherent simplicity. Wire compost bins allow for high airflow, so you do not have to turn the contents of your compost pile as much. We will explain what this means in our next section.
Wire composting bins are usually best used as multi-bin systems. Some people use one, throw all their layers together, and hope for the best, but we recommend having at least two. The first bin will be your starter pile for new materials, while the second—and third, if you wish—will be for more processed heaps that are closer to their final breakdown stages.
How Do You Compost in a Wire Bin?
Composting in a wire bin is much simpler than closed containers, sheet composting, or vermicomposting methods.
All you need are some greens and browns (see below), a pitchfork or shovel and your wire bin(s)! Essentially, you will create alternating layers of greens and browns in your wire bin, turning occasionally.
Turning, or churning, your compost means you are taking a garden fork to the pile and mixing the different layers. You are the compost tumbler. Turning allows your mixture to “do its thing” and create fertilizer.
So, What are Greens and Browns?
For compost to, well, compost, you need an equal mix of what gardeners like to call “greens” and “browns.”
The greens are “wet, nitrogen-rich” materials like food scraps and fresh greenery. Just make sure you limit your food scraps to fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, and eggshells. Meat and dairy products can cause issues with open-bin systems and should only be used in closed containers or by advanced composters.
The browns are carbon-based items that mix with the greens to create the fertilized end goal. These are dry, dead plants, leaf mold, and even old newspapers.
How to Choose a Wire Compost Bin
If you want to make an educated purchase of a new compost bin, you need to consider the amount of space available, and where you will be placing your bin. It’s all good and well to dream of a spacious 5-bin system, but if you live somewhere with a tiny yard that you share with 10 dogs, that may not be your best bet.
Other components to map into your purchase once you have decided where to place your bin include looks, price, and ease of setup. Don’t worry, we outline why weather does not matter as much as you might think later in this article. Here are our top three wire compost bins with pros and cons for each to help you begin, or continue, your composting journey!
Best Wire Compost Bins Review
The GEOBIN Compost Bin is a 216-gallon black plastic structure for holding your compost heap. The modern style of this option is aesthetically pleasing if that is something you are looking for. We love the price point of this bin, at $37 plus taxes and shipping at the time of writing this article. This bin expands up to 4 feet in diameter.
- This model is under $50.
- It has a modern, sleek design.
- The high capacity allows you to recycle a large number of kitchen scraps!
- This bin is easy to release, so when you need to turn your compost you can undo the sides and easily return it to the closed position.
- The GEOBIN can be pushed into a slightly oval shape to fit into a skinnier area.
- The round design can be hard to fit into small spaces because you will lose that bit of corner into which a square or rectangular bin would fit.
- This bin is made of plastic, which can absorb and emit bad smells.
The Bosmere Wire Compost Bin is a slightly less popular option because it does not look as pretty and it has a higher price point. However, it does have a square design, allowing it to fit easily into corners. It also has an easy-to-erect design, which makes setup a breeze. There is a door on the side, which allows for piling your compost outwards if you so desire.
- This model is easy to set up, so you can get your composting project started quickly.
- The Bosmere fits into corners, as opposed to a round design.
- It also has a large capacity, allowing for more recycling in less time.
- This model is metal, which will withstand weather conditions.
- This model is the most expensive on our list, priced at $63.39 plus taxes and shipping.
The MTB Garden Wire Compost Bin is great because it comes in two sizes. The smaller size measures 30” by 30” by 24” and holds 93.51 gallons. This size is $40.99 plus taxes and shipping. The larger size is 36” by 36” by 30” and holds 168.3 gallons. The larger size costs $62.99 plus taxes and shipping.
- This model comes in two different sizes. You could potentially use one of each size if you needed to fit a specific area.
- Large holes aid in the aeration of your compost material.
- This model has hooks on each corner, which can be used to hook multiple wire bins to fences or each other for added security against outdoor elements.
- This model is metal, which will withstand weather conditions.
- If you want the larger size, it is more expensive.
- This model is less pleasing to the eye.
How to Make a Wire Compost Bin
1) What You Will Need for a DIY Compost Bin
- Chicken wire or wide mesh grid from your local hardware store or Home Depot. We recommend 4-foot width, which will end up being the height of your compost bin.
- Optional: Wire cutting pliers, galvanized chicken wire, wooden stakes, hardware cloth
- Zip ties, thick string, hose clamps, or spring clamps. Each has its benefits, which we will go into further detail about below.
- Optional: Tubing stakes if you want to secure your bin to the ground. We recommend this for windier or uncertain climates.
- Garden fork
- Optional: Shovel
2) Steps to Make a Wire Compost Bin
- Select the type of wire mesh you will be using. Choose something with holes larger than half an inch to ensure proper airflow. Make sure you select a length that will accommodate the desired circumference of your finished bin.
- Have your home hardware store cut the mesh, or trim it yourself at home using wire cutters. In step 3, we give you a few options when it comes to the ease of turning your compost. If you would like to keep the bin permanently closed, make sure the width of the wire sheet is not so tall that you wouldn’t be able to reach over it to churn your compost.
- Create a circle with the wire mesh and secure it shut along the open edge to close the loop. Here are your options:
- Zip ties are a cheap, more-or-less permanent solution. With a shorter bin, you might want to keep the zip ties secure for as long as your composting project, and reach over the top to turn. If you have a taller bin, you could opt to cut the ties each time you turn, replacing them with each cycle. If you do this, remember that you would be contributing plastic waste to the earth, which defeats the purpose of composting.
- You can use string or wire to secure the sides, offering an easy on-and-off option. If you want something more secure, or are not sure how adept you are at untying old, weathered knots, we recommend the next two options.
- Hose clamps are going to be your snazziest option, and they are also surprisingly affordable. If you choose to go this route, you will need a socket wrench or a flathead screwdriver. Hose clamps are great because they are weather resistant and will fight against corrosion.
- Our favorite option for a quick build and easy opening process is spring clamps. The set we linked above will come with various sizes for about $8. Simply clamp your wire sheet together and you have a simple structure that can open in a snap for turning!
- You should now have a large, fat, stout tube. Place one open end towards the sky, and the other open end on the ground.
- If you wish, you can secure the bottom to the ground with tubing stakes. For added security, you might want to dig a hole about half a foot into which to place your bin.
- Fill your new bin with a 50/50 mix of greens and browns (grass clippings and dry leaves).
- Keep a garden fork on hand to churn your mix. A shovel could work if you already have one on hand, but we do recommend a garden fork if you plan on buying a tool for the sole purpose of mixing compost.
- Add kitchen scraps and enjoy your newly finished compost bin!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Wire Compost Bins Work?
Wire compost bins work if you work them! It is important to turn the compost heap consistently to make sure your mixture is evenly distributed. Keep your mixture damp, not soaking wet, for best results.
How Fast do Compost Bins Work?
Composting can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, depending on temperature, ingredients, and the type of compost bin used. There are a couple of telltale signs that you can watch out for to know that your composting process is working, such as dampness level and smell.
Where Should I Place My Compost Bin?
We recommend placing your compost bin in the sun for a faster process, as heat is a significant component for successful composting. However, your material will compost at any temperature because the process creates heat on its own. So don’t let worries about sun or shade stop you if you have a smaller yard with fewer options!
Whether you are a seasoned composter looking to try a new bin or just getting started, we hope this helped you make an informed decision on your next purchase. Happy composting!