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We now have a large house (a guesthouse) with capacity for generating a lot of compostable waste. At our previous house we used a number of static compost bins, turning between them. In the new house we'd like to accelerate the process for some proportion of the waste. This has led us to think of getting a rotary composter.

I've read the answers to this question, but that's about building one.

Can anyone advise us about the reality of speed-of-composting of a rotary composter vs. a static heap?

I'm in the UK if that affects things (I can see that it might - ambient temperature etc.)

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The advantage of a rotary mixer is the ease of keeping the compost moving. A static pile that is never moved takes around a year, and the top 6" doesn't decompose well. Turn the pile a few times, cut that down to a couple months. With a rotary composter, you can easily turn it each time you add material to it. The time required will still be measured in weeks, but it is MUCH faster than a compost pile.

It also keeps the dogs, cats, rats and raccoons out of the refuse..

Note however that the compost pile wins on volume. You will likely require several rotary composters to keep up with the demand. Paint them bright colors and call them Art.

Because you are constantly adding stuff, you need at least two. Many composters are divided into two compartments for this reason. One side can be finishing while you are getting things going in the other.

A rotary composter has more difficulty getting hot -- the air has access to all sides. Put your composters out of the wind, and in the sun.

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    Paint them bright colors and call them Art :) I was thinking more calling them a Natural Gym and getting people to pay to turn them :). I think capacity/space is going to be the issue. We have a huge (by UK standards) garden so there ought to be space, but that just means even more source material to find composting space for. Also cost is a preventative factor unless I follow the other Q and build one, err, several. – Cheeseminer Sep 17 '14 at 14:02
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    If you have the space a pile or two is probably a better bet. Even if all you do is periodically shift the top 20cm onto the other bin, empty it, then shift everything from the full bin into the now-empty one, you are getting 90% of the benefit of a collection of rotary compost bins. The shift rotates the compost, and emptying ... gives you compost. I use scrap (untreated!) pallets to make bins, to give you an idea of a good size for a "big compost bin". – Móż Sep 24 '14 at 6:21
  • Pallet compost bins are common at Permablitzes.. permablitz.net/picasaphotos/… and permablitz.net/picasaphotos/… for example (totally not my fault, I swear) – Móż Sep 24 '14 at 6:29

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