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Compost bins

How we test compost bins

By Janice Shipp

Article 4 of 10

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How we test compost bins

A decent compost bin is easy to fill and empty and will make good compost with the minimum of fuss, but a badly designed one can be a nightmare to use.

Making compost from garden and kitchen waste makes great sense as the rich compost it produces is excellent for mulching or digging in to improve your soil. A compost bin is the traditional way of making compost, but you could also enlist the power of worms with a wormery; ideal if you only produce small quantities of waste at a time.

To find the best bin for you, check out our Best Buy compost bins and Best Buy wormeries.

Which? testing of compost bins

We rated how easy the compost bins were to use, asking two people to assemble each one, fill it, turn the contents and completely empty it of compost. To find out how well they composted, we filled them half full in mid-April and added a further 25% of their maximum capacity in May, June and July as the contents settled and broke down.

The compost was turned once in mid-August and then emptied in mid-September. We passed it through a series of increasingly fine sieves to measure what proportion was fully composted, and how much was suitable for using as mulch or would need returning to the bin to break down further.

We based our composting material on the main types of compostable rubbish that a typical household would produce.

We started with a 50/50 mixture of 'green' waste (compostable food waste, leaves and grass cuttings) and 'brown' waste (woody stems, wood chips and brown cardboard).

As the compost bins became drier in June and July, we used a more moist, green-heavy mix of more food waste and grass clippings.