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Compost bin location

Hi there,

I'm going to start composting, but am a bit overwhelmed with info! I've found this Blackwall 220ltr bin that seems like it will do the job and is only £24. I don't need a huge bin as it's just me generating the food waste and I don't have a massive garden.

If anyone has any experience of that bin I'd be grateful for opinions!

I'm also thinking about placement... I'm very fortunate that my garden is a suntrap. There isn't really anywhere in the shade. I think that might mean I just have to water it more often, but there's no hose and I live two floors up. How much watering will it need? I'm carrying down bottles most days atm to water my new hedge and it's a bit of a faff. I'll be glad when I don't need to do that any more. Is there any other reason why it shouldn't be in full sun? 

I'd probably like to put it by my bins, but that means putting it in front of the hedge, which has a busy pavement the other side. Do the compost bins get very smelly for people walking past? Is there any issue with drainage if there's a pavement the other side? Does it matter for either the hedge or the bin that they're next to each other? It's a new hedge, bare root privet just gone in a month ago. Once the hedge grows in, that will block most of the sunlight, will that be too shady then??

Sorry for the multitude of questions! Really any advice appreciated :-)


  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    edited April 2021
    Compost bins shouldn't smell, and if they do, then the ratio of green:brown isn't quite right - too much green and too wet. Assuming you won't be putting any meat/cheese etc and the food waste you're talking about is just fruit/veg/eggshells/etc.
    Is there any way you could get a water butt connected to the outside guttering?
    My compost bins are in shade, and they still dry out. One of them is a 300L square one, and the other is similar to yours but without the door at the bottom. The square one dries out around the edges due to the air holes.
    Also - Wilko do the same size composter for £25 so you might save yourself on delivery charges if you can go get it yourself.
  • Captain_ChaosCaptain_Chaos Posts: 60
    edited April 2021
    I've just bought 2 Blackwell 330l bins for £30 delivered.  Check out and enter your postcode. You may get a local council discount ;)

    Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional.
  • My top tip would be get a tumbling one. I find the square ones eventually become just too difficult to turn and also get the compost out of it can be pretty thought too. 
    If you can’t turn it properly and get the air in you won’t get good compost. 
  • FlyDragonFlyDragon Posts: 834
    I used to have a big dalek compost bin and I found that with just me filling it, even with all the grass cuttings from front and back going in there, I never actually managed to fill it in about 4 years!  
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    edited April 2021
    I have at least two bins for food waste.  I tend to just fill one then leave it, and then fill another.  If I'm energetic, I turn the full one into the other empty one.  Which I did at the weekend, but it's a stinky job.  The daleks are hard to turn, about as good as I get is putting a heavy stick in there and swirling it about a bit.

    I tend to bury my bins a bit, if you have soft ground, it's worth putting chicken wire underneath.  And fortressing the door flaps.  These tend to burst off when loaded.  And animals can pull them off.  I usually put a couple of slabs or something up against them.

    Mine are worm heavy, and I have killed the colony when they have gotten too hot.  Mine are in deciduous shade, but at this time of year before leaf unfurling they can get too much sun.

    If you have full sun, you could just rely on hot composting.  The daleks are quite sealed, and when loaded/compressed can smell as you can get anaerobic bacteria.  But if you put loads of carbon in them and have some air gaps this might not be an issue.

    However, I'm not wanting to put you off.  My compost bin smells a bit fruity after turning it, but compared with the neighbours wheelie bins that are strewn out on the pavements full of dog droppings that bake in the sun, or other bins that have food wastes in, as they are not composting matter, they smell sweet by comparison!

    Composting mostly happens.  I wouldn't sweat too much over it.  My one accident was putting a little too much pee in mine once!  That's best left diluted and used in a watering can all over the garden.

    I tend to visit the bin everyday.  But we cook everything from scratch here, so have peelings and other grounds, and we put a lot of end of life cardboard in - the premium stuff we put in the recycling bin.  I tend to fill one bin per year two person household.

  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    I've just bought 2 Blackwell 330l bins for £30 delivered.  Check out and enter your postcode. You may get a local council discount ;)

    @susielloyd78 Captain Chaos just saved you a few quid! £22.50 for a 330L bin. Not sure if you get free delivery with buying just one bin, and it's also bigger than what you want, but they since the 220L is £20, it's a no brainer to get the bigger one if you have the space for it.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,128
    edited April 2021
    I recommend basic black dustbins (adding drainage holes), they are easy to turn, cheap, have closed clip lids and are easy to carry. The Blackwell bin is hard to turn and hard empty. They are also great to use for other things - storage of leaf mould, wood chips, garden gear like pots or fleece or whatever you want. I have four and they rotate through various uses - usually three for compost and one for something else.

    Models of compost bin where you can take the front off, give easy access to the back (unlike the Blackwell bin). Shade and sun siting, I think, give different advantages. Worms like cooler bins and will be happier there. A warmer site might mean that your waste to earth cycle might be faster (if the balance is good).

    I wouldn't worry too much about watering - If your greens and browns are more or less in balance you shouldn't have a problem; and they shouldn't smell. I never water mine. You can get things like fruit flies laying, but you can add a handful of wood chip over new additions if that bothers you. Your bins will leach liquid from worms and vegetable juices etc. This is a rich nutrition and our hedge would enjoy it, I should think.

    I do find it useful to have a range of things near the bins (though others will have different experiences). I keep woodchip, newspaper, and bark chippings close by to even up the balance when needed.

  • Thanks so much for all your really helpful advice! I actually found that one following your link from another post. That was England only, but it linked to the website i posted for Scotland. Since then, some has put 3 of the dalek ones on freecycle, but it's a first time poster and he doesn't ever seem to have come back. I'm holding off a bit in case he ever does. 

    I'll start keeping brown waste though. I don't generate much of that, I'm pretty careful about what I buy in packaging so only need to put my landfill and recycling bins out once every 5 weeks each. I might struggle, but I can put a request on Olio for cardboard maybe and redirect others' recycling to my compost maybe. 

    Thanks again, you've been really helpful!
  • FireFire Posts: 18,128
    I get bundles of newspaper in from neighbours and family to help the browns. Straw takes ages to break down but if there is anyone giving away woodchip locally that can be very useful. Near all my household paper and cardboard goes into my compost to bump the browns.
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    I got a black dustbin £15.50 (I think, from Homebase) with metal clips to hold the lid on and it's litre-age is smaller than standard compost bins. I use it to take out the middle of my square bin, add whatever is required (water/browns/greens) then roll around the lawn once a week to speed up decomposition. Only 1 drainage hole and that was an accident. That's because the middle of my square bin is more decomposed than the bits around the edge which dry out because of the air holes.
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