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
The most common size for a New Zealand Box is 1 metre square.
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.
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
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!