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Question: I would like to start a compost pile this spring. What is the best material to use when building a compost bin?

Answer: There are a number of types of material to build a bin from. The type of materials used really does not have anything to do with compost. The bin is only the structure used to support the process. A bin should be about around 4′ x 4′ x 4′ for the average yard. It can be larger but it may get harder to manage. Commercial compost bins are made from plastic. There is also the enclosed structure which can be turned. Recycled materials such as wooden pallets or even chicken wire can be used. The material depends more on your budget and the desired look. The rate of decomposition is determined by materials, moisture levels and aeration more than by the structure. So, really use what you want but concentrate on the process for success. 

Answer provided by Dennis L. Patton, a Horticulture Extension Agent with Kansas State University Cooperative Extension. Contact him at 913-715-7000.

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