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Compost Tumbler: a solution to the potting soil problem?
Posted By Beth Terry On August 6, 2007 @ 11:16 pm In composting,gardening supplies | 16 Comments
Good lord, what is that Death Star looking thing on your roof, Beth?
No Worries. It’s my new Urban compost tumbler and tea catcher , ready to devour food, garden, and some paper waste and deliver rich, fragrant compost… in 2-6 months, depending on how diligent I am in feeding it.
But it’s made of (gasp) plastic!
That’s right. 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. The only part that is not recycled is the tea catcher, and I’m having a few regrets about ordering that part. Seems like I maybe could have figured out another way to catch the compost leachate without buying a brand new piece of plastic. Well, live and learn.
So, how does it work?
Glad you asked! Simply add your “green” (fresh leaves, grass, food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, anything wet and pungent) and “brown” (dry leaves, grass, shredded paper & cardboard) waste, close the lid, spin the compost tumbler a few times to mix it all up, and leave it alone until you have more to add. That’s it. Over time, the materials will decompose into fresh dirt that no longer resembles (or smells) like the original ingredients. I know this because we had a different composter a few years ago, and after neglecting it all winter, we opened it up in the spring to find gorgeous, sweet-smelling soil.
So why aren’t you using that one?
Well, the thing is, we don’t actually have a yard, only a roof deck. The composter we had was meant to sit on the ground. Instead, I had it on a wooden palette on top of a black plastic sheet. Still, the deck underneath got pretty gross. I didn’t think it was the best idea, especially since as renters, we didn’t actually own the deck we were grossifying. So I traded the composter for a worm bin, but I never found time to purchase the worms to go in it and worried that if I did purchase the worms, they’d die from neglect. Composters, on the other hand, love neglect. Hence, my decision to re-Freecycle the worm bin and spring for the compost tumbler , which will never touch the deck.
Why did you buy that one?
Boy, I stayed up several nights in a row researching which compost tumbler to buy. I’ll list for you the ones I considered, the pros and cons, and the reason I chose the Urban Compost Tumbler .
1) Back Porch ComposTumbler :
2) Other larger ComposTumblers :
So how does my Urban Compost Tumbler compare to the four mentioned above?
Finally, let’s talk packaging. The Urban Compost Tumbler was delivered in 3 boxes: 2 great big ones containing the drum and base and a smaller one containing the tea catcher. Except for a cardboard ring to hold the drum in place, the big boxes had no additional packaging and were sealed up with paper tape! The smaller box was stuffed with newspaper, as opposed to styrofoam or plastic. There was some plastic inside besides the tea catcher itself: a plastic bag containing the smaller hardware parts and a small plastic clamshell containing one of the parts. Oddly, this box was sealed with plastic tape.
Bottom Line: Investing in this composter will allow us to recycle our organic waste in a way that is responsible and will provide nutrients for the plants in my garden. Mixing the compost with dirt from the side of the house, I’m hoping to provide potting soil for the garden that doesn’t come in a plastic bag. And catching the leachate, I’m hoping to provide my own fertilizer that I don’t have to buy from the store.
And finally, for those who don’t want to compost, Terracycle  makes organic fertilizers and even potting soil that is packaged in recycled soda bottles and milk jugs.
Article printed from My Plastic-free Life: http://myplasticfreelife.com
URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2007/08/compost-tumbler-solution-to-potting/
URLs in this post:
 Urban compost tumbler and tea catcher: http://www.urbangardencenter.com/products/composter/uct9/index.html
 Back Porch ComposTumbler: http://mantiscompostumbler.com/back-porch-compostumbler.asp
 Other larger ComposTumblers: http://mantiscompostumbler.com/
 Envirocycle Composter/ Composteamaker: http://www.envirocyclesystems.com
 OutdoorDecor.com: http://www.outdoordecor.com/product_detail.asp?item=VCM10003
 Tumbling Compost Mixer with steel frame: http://www.gardeners.com/Tumbling-Compost-Mixer/default/StandardCatalog.20706.35-727.cpd
 Compost Mixer with plastic base: http://www.gardeners.com/Compost-Mixer-with-Base/default/StandardCatalog.20706.34-354.cpd
 Optional tea catcher: http://www.urbangardencenter.com/products/composter/accessory/index.html
 Terracycle: http://www.terracycle.net
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