Compost bins are one of the most convenient composting units for people who primarily compost kitchen scraps and don’t have a lot of space. Bins can be purchased or made easily and can be of just about any size. However, they are affected by the elements.
Here are a few ways that you can stop your compost bin from blowing over (and blowing up):
- Use good quality reusable plastic or other heavy materials
- Get a bin that’s large enough
- Keep your compost bin covered
- Water your compost regularly
- Place your bin in a sheltered location
- Weigh the bin down
- Use a collecting bin
In this article, I’ll explain these methods in more detail so you can keep your compost bin as weatherproof and secure as possible, so read on!
1. Use Good Quality Reusable Plastic or Other Heavy Materials
When you’re composting with a bin, you want to make sure that you’re using good quality materials that are sturdy and malleable.
The materials you use should be malleable enough to expand with the compost as it decomposes and releases gases. At the same time, the material should be strong enough to withstand the weight of the composting materials and the natural wear and tear over time.
The kind of material you use will also be determined by where you intend to place it. Less durable materials may work for bins that are placed indoors.
However, compost bins should be kept in a well-ventilated area for optimum results. Keeping the bins outdoors makes it easier to turn and aerate the compost, which is necessary to keep the aerobic bacteria alive and healthy enough to break down the organic matter.
In such scenarios, you need to pick materials that can hold up to the weather conditions of the area where you live – from bright, hot sunlight to heavy windstorms and downpours.
Plastics are commonly used as the materials for a composting bin, and they are fairly convenient. Nevertheless, you must ensure that the plastics used for your bin are high-grade, compostable, or reusable plastics. Poor quality plastics will degrade and leach harmful chemicals into your compost heap over time and not hold up well in bad weather.
Hot sunlight can crack poor-quality plastics, and rains can batter them. More importantly, poor-quality plastics tend to be lighter, making it harder for you to stop your compost bin from blowing over the minute there’s a light gale outside.
Resilient, rot-resistant, untreated wood; metal; and recycled or reusable plastic are all good materials for your compost bin that will be heavy enough to stay upright when it’s windy outside.
How Do You Make a Homemade Compost Bin?
There are several prefabricated composting bins available for purchase or pick up, depending on your local municipality. However, you can easily make your compost bin with available materials.
You can make a homemade compost bin by joining together four wooden pallets in a box shape. They are the cheapest and easiest material to make a compost bin. You can also use metal or plastic garbage cans with lids and hardware cloth or wire mesh that can be bent into a drum or box shape.
These homemade compost bins are easy to put together using a little effort and barely any expense. Many stores may give wooden pallets away for free or for a token amount. They can be held together with zip ties and placed directly into the ground, doing away with the need for a bottom.
Plastic or metal garbage cans with a lid can be easily converted into a turnable compost bin by drilling holes in the lid, adding a rod insert, and building a simple base. You can refer to an easy-to-follow guide to make this bin.
Finally, you can use wire mesh of around 16 gauge or thicker or hardware cloth that can be bent into shape and held together with chain snaps. This bin can be placed on the ground directly and secured by digging it a little into the ground so it doesn’t blow over in the wind.
2. Get a Bin That’s Large Enough
Getting a compost bin that is large enough is important for several reasons. The first and most important reason for getting a compost bin that is at least three feet (0.91 meters) by three feet (one cubic yard or 0.76 cu. m.) and up to five feet (1.5 meters) by five feet is necessary to ensure that the volume of compost feedstock in the bin is large enough to generate heat.
The larger your compost heap, the more heat it will produce as the microbes break down the large volume of organic matter. This heat is important as it will help your feedstock decompose faster and ensure that your compost is active and healthy.
Larger bins with a large volume of composting feedstock also tend to be hardier and can withstand the elements better. The feedstock becomes more self-contained and can endure most weather conditions as a large pile is self-insulating.
A large bin is also better able to withstand windy conditions, as the weight of the compost in it will keep the bin anchored to the ground.
Can a Compost Bin Be Small?
Home composting units need to be the right size for convenience and ease of use to ensure that they can contain all the waste produced in the house and be easy to maintain.
A compost bin can be as small as 1.5 by 1.5 feet (0.46 x 0.46 meters) and function well for a one-person household. However, it is difficult to maneuver the feedstock in a small bin to turn and water it. Most households need a compost bin that is at least one cubic yard (0.76 cu. m.).
Smaller composting units can handle a limited amount of waste. If you’re using a smaller compost bin, having a multi-unit system is necessary to give the feedstock enough time to decompose. With a multi-unit system, when one bin is full, it can be set aside to compost, and you can fill the other units in the meanwhile.
Smaller bins will be lighter and will get blown over, so they will need to be secured in some way. In most cases, smaller bins are used by people who don’t have a lot of space and will need to place their bins indoors. Indoors, the bin will be sheltered enough that it will not get blown over.
3. Keep Your Compost Bin Covered
Covering your compost is essential for weatherproofing and keeping the heat and moisture in your compost.
Having a sufficiently large pile that is at least three feet high will help your compost pile become self-insulating, but you can encourage the process and cover your compost for faster decomposition.
Covering your compost will contain the heat and moisture inside the pile and keep it consistent regardless of the weather, which will help you get your compost faster. The lid also traps any odors from escaping your compost pile, which will keep out pests like fruit flies and scavengers like bears from rooting through your compost bin.
Additionally, a secure lid will protect your compost from the elements. Bins with lids will be fine even if they get rained on, as the compost pile won’t become too soggy and messy. Lids will also protect your compost pile from being blown across the yard in windy conditions.
Even if your compost bin gets blown over, a secure lid will keep your compost from spilling all over the ground, so you don’t have to clean up any mess.
Should a Compost Bin Be Airtight?
Home composting is usually carried out in covered containers with holes for aeration, which is necessary to supply oxygen to the microorganisms.
A compost bin should not be completely airtight as this will result in anaerobic decomposition. The gases released as a result of anaerobic decomposition can turn the compost combustible, like organic matter in landfills. Composting in an airtight container may cause your compost to blow up.
Apart from the dangers of your compost bin blowing up and, therefore, blowing over, anaerobic decomposition results in compost that is frequently unusable because of the specific chemicals produced by the anaerobic bacteria as they break the organic matter down.
Home composting should always be done in a compost bin that is well aerated to prevent any instances of spontaneous combustion and other issues related to anaerobic decomposition.
4. Water Your Compost Regularly
Apart from the greens and browns, water is one of the most important components of your compost. Watering your compost regularly is essential to keep the microbes in your compost pile healthy.
Like most living organisms, microbes need water to survive. Without water, these microbes will become inactive or die off, leaving your compost to decompose slowly and unevenly.
Insufficient water in your compost can lead to an infestation of ants in your pile. The worst-case scenario is that anaerobic decomposition will set in, resulting in unusable and even combustible compost.
Dry compost is usually light, crumbly, and blows over easily. Watering your compost is a simple way to stop your compost bin from blowing over in the slightest wind, as the water will add weight to your compost pile and hold it down.
Compost itself holds water much better than soils do, and adding compost to soil improves its capacity to hold water. So when you water your compost, it holds onto the water a lot better than soil would, which is why the compost becomes heavy and stable enough to stay upright even in heavy winds.
5. Place Your Bin in a Sheltered Location
Where you place your compost makes a big difference in ensuring that you’re able to use it easily. The functionality of your location involves ensuring that the bin isn’t too far away from your kitchen but at a safe enough distance that any potential problems that manifest as smells, pests, and scavengers do not enter your living spaces.
If something does go wrong with your compost, or if you’re working with it closely, you could fall sick. To prevent any illness, you should keep the bin a little away from your living area. Even if you must place your bin indoors, it should be placed on a window ledge or a balcony to ensure good ventilation.
However, when it comes to placing your compost bin outdoors, you do need to find a location that is sheltered. The area should be warm enough to support the microbes breaking down the feedstock, which is between 55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 25 degrees Celsius).
Under an awning, against a ledge, in the corner of your garden, or any other kind of shelter will also protect your compost bin from the elements. If your bin is resting against a hedge or a garden wall, then it won’t blow over during a thunderstorm.
Should Compost Be In Sun or Shade?
Compost bins need some heat, but direct sunlight can be harmful to the bacteria and dry up the compost.
Compost should be in the shade so that they’re protected from the elements. The shade will stop the compost bin from blowing over. It will also maintain the moisture and heat in your compost at a consistent level, which speeds up the composting process.
Keeping your compost bin in the shade reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation, so you won’t have to water your compost as often. Moist compost is also heavier, which will stop your bin from blowing over.
Can Compost Bin Sit on Concrete?
Compost bins do well when placed directly into the dirt, so that should be your first choice if you have the space.
Compost bins can sit on concrete, especially if they’re worm bins. However, placing your compost bin directly in the dirt secures the bin and stops it from blowing over. It also allows for the pile to mix with the dirt and introduces more microbes into the feedstock, producing compost faster.
Bins that are secured on stands for easy turning can be placed just about anywhere, as they will not be touching the ground in any case. Homemade bins like the ones made of wooden pallets or wire mesh can be dug into the ground to make them more secure in the elements.
6. Weigh the Bin Down
The simplest way to stop your compost bin from blowing over is to weigh your bin down.
With boxes or drums that are placed on the ground directly, you can place a heavy brick on top of the lid, which will prevent the lid from blowing off and taking the entire bin with it.
When it comes to bins placed on stands, it is a good idea to add weights to the stands themselves. Sandbags are good weights as they can be draped across the stand and will not break homemade wooden ones with the extra weight.
You can also secure the bin by digging the stand into the sandbag a little so the stand is anchored into the ground in bad weather.
7. Use a Collecting Bin
Whether you’re composting with or without a bin, you need to always collect your greens and browns to ensure that you have enough of each to layer your compost bin correctly.
Once you’ve built up your compost pile, it is easy to add the waste as it’s created, but this is not possible when you’re just starting out.
A single household is unlikely to produce enough greens to pile up a few inches in a compost bin that’s about one cubic yard (0.76 cu. m.) in size. It is useful to keep a collecting bin or bucket to collect all the kitchen and food scraps till you have enough to layer them in your compost bin.
Using a collection bin will also help you separate your waste at the source, as you can add everything that’s compostable to your collection bin on a daily basis. The rest can be directly placed in the trash.
Unlike a compost bin, a collection bin is too small to break down aggressively, as it’s too small to generate the heat necessary. Nor will your greens be in the bin long enough for anaerobic decomposition to set in.
A collection bin or bucket is a convenient way of ensuring healthy compost. Collecting the scraps together gives you time to build your compost layers correctly.
Being able to collect your compost also means that when you do start filling your compost, you’re adding a significant amount of feedstock, which will weigh the bin down. If you were to only add a little feedstock at a time into the bin, it would be exceptionally light and be blown over by the slightest wind.
To stop your compost from blowing over, you need to ensure that you’re using large, heavy bins. Keeping the bins covered and watering them regularly will ensure that the compost is moist, heavy, and self-insulating enough to be protected even in bad weather conditions.
The most intuitive way to protect your bins is to weigh them down and place them in a sheltered location. Finally, using a collection bin to ensure that you’re able to add a significant amount of feedstock at a time will ensure that your bins are too heavy to be blown over.