The Home Composter

How to Compost

Compost safely

Your compost ingredients

Empty your compost bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms & Wormeries

Topical Composting

Compost kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould

Seasonal Tips


Unwelcome Guests

Leaflets to download

DIY Compost Bins

Compost bins are simple to construct, if you can’t find a ready made one that suits your garden.
Read our Which Bin to Choose for advice.

The standard plastic compost bin works well, when used correctly, but is designed for the “average” garden.
If your garden is large or quite small it may be better to build one to fit.

New Zealand boxes are the simplest design. Download our leaflet Making a New Zealand Box for instructions.

The most common size for a New Zealand Box is 1 metre square.
small size NZ BoxBut you can make a mini version 60 x 60 cm for a small garden.
Usually 2 New Zealand Boxes are used so that one is being filled while the other is left to rot down.
If you are short of space you can make just one and empty it once a year in spring, as you would a plastic bin, harvesting the finished compost from the bottom and forking back in what has not decomposed.

If you have a large garden you can build two giant New Zealand Boxes, 1.5 metres square. Any larger would need extra bracing to stop the sides bowing out.
Or you can build more than 2.

A New Zealand Box does not have to be square, it could be rectangular or even a rhomboid.

recycled plastic NZ BoxA New Zealand Box does not have to be made of wood, though that is the cheapest material to use. Make sure the wood has been treated or it will rot really quickly. In any case it will probably need replacing after about 10 years.
Recycled plastic “wood” is expensive. ASK Organic has bought from Filcris go to for current prices. The planks come in colours other than black. THEY LAST FOREVER
Recycled plastic “wood” can be sawn and drilled just like real wood. Though it is heavier it is easy to use.

The bigger the bin the more compostables it will take so - it will get hotter; retain moisture better; work faster.

Mini bins may need watering in a long dry spell, though the recycled plastic will keep in the moisture better than the wood.
It will also retain heat better so a plastic bin will work faster than a wooden one.
For example a large plastic NZ Box, 1.5 metres square, will produce good compost in 18 months instead of the normal 2 years for a wooden bin.

Wood can be painted or stained to blend in with a fence or shed.
Or you can be creative and make your bin a feature!

Composting problem?
 Contact us if you would like us to answer your query. We'll try to give a helpful answer!

This page is sponsored by Scottish Borders Councilsbc logo

More information about recycling can be found on :
 Scottish Borders Council Reduce Reuse Recyclewaste aware logo