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I just came across a school project to build a hanging compost bin: Lakeview Compost Bin. The benefits of composting have been a frequent topic here, but I'm wondering what purpose is served by hanging the bin?

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What purpose is served by hanging the bin?

A conventional compost bin is built up over considerable time and is a layered pile of moist solids and you are typicaly required to add layers of newspaper and worms and monitor moisture levels regularly and a host of other things to make it work.

The suspended and more importantly rotating composter requires none of this.

It works like an aerobic digestor household waste system (as distinct from an anaerobic digestor system which smells somewhat) - ie. it works on the same principle as a cow's stomach - it is a wet environment, with a lid that is removed each day as it's topped up, a little water is added as necessary such that it stays wet, the lid is replaced and the whole thing is turned - just a few times - like a butter churn, to mix the bacteria, oxygen and any fresh waste food that's added daily.

It needs to be suspended in order to be turned, the advantages are, it doesn't give rodents and other scavengers the opportunity to feed and thus breed. It spreads water, oxygen and bacteria around the food every time it is used, and thus digests waste in a relativley short period of time, leading to the release of essential plant nutrients faster and more evenly than a compost heap is able.

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Several:

Compost is an aerobic process. This way the bottom gets air too.

Easy to rotate.

If made of a wire mesh, then it will shed small bits of completed compost.

Downsides:

You will have to water it more often. It dries from all sides.

Nuisance to put large amounts of stuff into it. Big weeds, large bags of leaves.

Limited capacity doesn't fit well with the way a reasonable yard produces material to be composted.

if you have cold weather, the whole process stops, where a pile will take a much longer time before action near the ground slows to a stop.

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  1. Allow rotation of the compost bin.
  2. Make it easier/ergonomic to rotate (especially when it's full/heavy) by raising the bin to an optimal height.
  3. Make room for a bucket/crate/wheelbarrow to slide under the bin when it's ready to be emptied.
  4. Reduce smell (holes in the bottom help leak/evaporate fluids thus preventing anaerobic conditions from developing; elevation and rotation keep those holes from clogging up).
  5. Discourage rodents from chewing their way into the bin (climbing up a frame exposes them to predators like cats and raptors).

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