There are different types of composters available, depending on your resources and preferences.
Although there are many different composting processes, here are some of the most popular composting practices:
Vermiculture composting (aka worm composting) uses worms in order to help recycle food waste and other natural waste into a soil type known as worm compost (or vermicompost).
Essentially, worms feed on food waste, and in turn, turns the food waste into compost. This process occurs in the form of worms eating and subsequently excreting the food waste. This highly nutritious compost can then be used for a variety of agricultural activities.
In general, an optimal bin size for vermiculture composting is between 5 to 10 gallons. The bin should be deeper in depth, in order to be closer to the soil (since worms prefer to be immersed in soil).
Stationary composters are generally the largest compost bins on the market. These compostors usually include a lid at the top of the bin, which helps to keep unwanted insects away, while also helping to retain moisture.
You can expect that most stationary composting bins will have an open end/bottom, in order for worms and other organisms to enter. Since most composters comprise mostly of organic food waste, the microorganisms that feed on this waste subsequently excrete highly nutritious compost, as we touched discussing vermiculture / worm composting.
The length of time it takes for your compost to accumulate depends on a number of factors including weather, climate and waste volumes. The general consensus for stationary composters is that it takes around four months before a significant amount of compost accumulates.
Composting tumblers are a popular composting option for a number of reasons. They are referred to as ‘tumblers’ due to a rotating drum that spins around.
Some main reasons why composting tumblers are popular include:
- Their easiness to maintain
- Their ability to work very efficiently during summer months, as a result of moisture retention and insulation
- Their efficiency to produce a large volume of compost
- Due to the structural differences, composting tumblers may be a solution to composting in a rat infested area
- Composting tumblers tend to produce quicker compost, however ensuring that the correct temperatures, nitrogen and carbon levels are optimal is ultimately what will make the difference
Important: Composting tumblers do not contain worms and cannot utilize a worms role in the composting process. This is due to the high temperatures that arise inside the tumblers, as a result of summer heat and moisture retention.
Instead, bacteria and fungi are responsible for the composting process in tumbling composters. In general, people who want to take their composting very seriously tend to make the switch from a composting tumbler to a conventional composter at some stage.
From more information on how to use a compost tumbler, Planet Natural have put together an intuitive guide here.
What if you don’t have an interest in composting for garden purposes, but are looking for alternatives to general food waste disposal?
Food waste digesters/composters
Food waste digesters are similar to standard composting bins used at home/domestically, however with food waste digesters, they have the capacity to helpt to filter and organise waste. Food waste digesters also help to keep unwanted vermin away.
Food waste digesters are also connected to the ground via an open ground base. These composters are able to process food waste, bones, and even pet waste.
Some popular food waste digesters include:
- Green Cone Composters
Green cone digesters have the ability to nourish the earth without producing any compost. Green cone digesters are equipped with a double fitted cone that helps retain heat and moisture. This process enables bacteria to go to work on the food waste within the soil thus breaking it down.
- Hotbin Composters
Hotbin composters are another popular food waste digester. These bins maintain a warm temperature of around 60 degrees celsius, and have the ability to produce compost over the course of a 12 week period. Hotbin composters are approximately the same size as a wheelie-bin.
- Green Johanna Composters
Green Johanna composters are well ventilated food composters that can also compost almost all food waste materials, such as meat, fish and bones. These sealed composters are also able to compost garden clippings and peelings, making them a perfect all round solution to general home waste composting.
Considerations before starting your composting journey
Before we dive into the different types and ways of composting, you should ask yourself some questions before you start your composting journey.
- Where do you plan to compost?
Depending on the type of accommodation that you live in, there are different types of compost options available to you. From inner-city to country-side accommodation, factors such as space and land capacity play a role in where you will be able to compost.
- Which waste types do you plan to compost?
Depending on your lifestyle, different household activities will play a role in the type of compost output produced. From garden waste to food waste, differences in composted materials mean different processes and composter capabilities.
- What are your intentions and expectations from composting?
From the creation of fertilizer to simply reducing the amount of food waste at your disposal, there are different motives behind composting. Understanding the differences depending on your intention is an important part of the composting process.
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