Composting is the process of breaking down organic waste materials, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and paper, into a rich soil-like substance called compost. This natural process is a great way to reduce waste, improve soil quality, and help the environment. Composting has numerous benefits, including reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil quality and structure, and providing a natural source of nutrients for plants. Composting also helps to conserve water by improving soil water-holding capacity and reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers.

Hessian Compost Bin Liner

Why Does My Compost Bin Smell?

There are several common causes of odours and pests in composting systems that can be addressed by using a liner.

Poor Aeration

If your compost bin is not getting enough air, it can create an anaerobic environment that produces unpleasant odours. Aeration can be improved by adding dry materials like leaves, wood chips, or shredded paper, which will help to create air pockets in the compost pile.

Moisture Imbalance

Compost should be moist, but not too wet. If your compost is too wet, it can create an anaerobic environment that produces unpleasant odours. Conversely, if your compost is too dry, it may not break down properly. To maintain proper moisture levels, it is important to add water as needed and to avoid adding too much wet material at once. Alternately, compost that is too dry can make insects and some animals make the heap their home.

Improper Ratio of Brown and Green Materials

Composting requires a balance of brown materials (carbon-rich) and green materials (nitrogen-rich). If your compost pile has too much of one type of material, it can produce unpleasant odours. To achieve the proper balance, it is recommended to have a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of brown to green materials.

Inadequate Temperature Control

Composting requires a certain temperature range to break down organic materials properly. If your compost pile is too hot or too cold, it may not break down properly and produce unpleasant odours. A compost thermometer can be used to monitor the temperature of your compost pile.

Inappropriate Materials Added to Compost

Certain materials, such as meat, dairy, or oily foods, should not be added to a compost pile as they can attract pests and produce unpleasant odours. It is important to stick to compostable materials like fruits, vegetables, and yard waste.

Compost Bin in Garden
Compost Bin in Garden

How Lining Your Compost Bin Can Help Reduce Odours and Pests

Lining your compost bin can be an effective way to reduce odours and pests in your composting system. Here are some tips for using a liner properly:

Types of Liners

There are several types of liners that can be used in a compost bin, including paper, cardboard, burlap, and specialised composting liners. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the one that works best for your situation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type

Paper and cardboard liners are relatively easy to find and are biodegradable, but they can break down quickly and may not last as long as other types of liners. Burlap liners are more durable, but they may be more difficult to find and can be more expensive.

Specialised composting liners are designed specifically for composting and are often made from biodegradable materials like cornstarch, but they can be more expensive than other types of liners.

How to Use a Liner Properly

To use a liner properly, simply line the bottom and sides of your compost bin with the liner material of your choice. Be sure to leave the top open to allow for proper aeration.

Tips for Choosing the Right Liner

When choosing a liner, consider factors such as availability, cost, durability, and effectiveness at reducing odours and pests. Some liners may work better than others depending on your composting setup and the types of materials you are composting.

Best Compost Bin for Your Garden

Other Strategies for Reducing Odours and Pests in Your Composting System

In addition to using a liner, there are several other strategies you can use to reduce odours and pests in your composting system:

Regular Turning and Aerating

Regularly turning and aerating your compost pile can help to promote proper decomposition and reduce unpleasant odours. Use a pitchfork or compost turner to mix and aerate your compost.

Maintaining Appropriate Moisture Levels

Maintaining proper moisture levels is key to reducing unpleasant odours in your compost. Add water as needed to maintain a moist, but not too wet, environment.

Proper Ratio of Brown and Green Materials

Maintaining the proper balance of brown and green materials in your compost pile can help to reduce odours and promote proper decomposition. Aim for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of brown to green materials.

Using a Compost Thermometer to Monitor the Temperature

Using a compost thermometer to monitor the temperature of your compost pile can help to ensure that it is breaking down properly and not producing unpleasant odours.

Avoiding Adding Meat, Dairy, or Oily Foods to Compost

Avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily foods to your compost pile, as they can attract pests and produce unpleasant odours.

Conclusion

Reducing odours and pests in your composting system is important for maintaining a healthy and effective composting process. By using a liner and implementing other strategies such as regular turning, maintaining proper moisture levels, and avoiding certain types of materials, you can create a healthy, nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden while minimising unpleasant odours and pests. Happy composting!

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“Maintain proper moisture levels in your compost by adding water as needed and avoiding over-wetting!”

“Regularly turn and aerate your compost pile to promote proper decomposition and reduce unpleasant odours!”

“Balance your compost with a proper ratio of brown and green materials. A 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of brown to green materials is ideal!”

“Monitor the temperature of your compost pile using a compost thermometer to ensure it is breaking down properly and not producing unpleasant odours!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best material to line a compost bin?

The best material to line a compost bin depends on your specific needs and composting setup. Some options include paper, cardboard, burlap, and specialised composting liners. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the one that works best for you.

What is the best way to layer a compost bin?

The best way to layer a compost bin is to alternate layers of brown and green materials. Brown materials include things like leaves, straw, and wood chips, while green materials include things like food scraps and grass clippings. Aim for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of brown to green materials. It’s also important to regularly turn and aerate your compost pile to promote proper decomposition.

What do you line the bottom of a compost bin with?

You don’t necessarily need to line the bottom of a compost bin, as it is important to allow for proper drainage and aeration. However, some people choose to line the bottom of their compost bin with materials like rocks, twigs, or mesh to help with drainage and airflow.

Should I line my compost bin with cardboard?

Cardboard can be a good option for lining a compost bin, as it is biodegradable and can help to reduce odours and pests. However, it is important to choose durable and thick enough cardboard that won’t break down too quickly. Additionally, be sure to leave the top of the compost bin open to allow for proper aeration.

Author

Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

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