To start composting, you need to decide on the right compost bin. This decision is based on what you intend to compost: food scraps, lawn clippings, newspapers or all of the above. The decision also is based on whether the compost bin will be inside or outside and on what scale you plan to compost: a small hobby or for use in a large garden? The answers to each of these three issues help determine the answers to the others.
Use a measuring tape to determine the length and the width of the area in which you will place your compost bin.
Purchase a worm compost bin, if you are planning to compost indoors since vermiculture is the preferred indoor composting method. The worm compost bin should be placed in a dark, low traffic area of your home or apartment, such as a cabinet or closet floor. Worm bins are best for household food waste and newspapers. Look for a worm bin that is expandable: Such bins often have multiple trays that can be added or removed based on your needs.
Purchase a tumbler for small outdoor composting areas. Tumblers allow composting material to be gathered at once and create usable compost in as little as five weeks. Look for a compost bin tumbler that you can turn by hand comfortably and easily, since this must be done once every two or three days.
Purchase a tall static compost bin if you do not want a tumbler but have only a small outdoor area. This type of compost bin requires more time to make usable compost, and you will have to manually turn the material with a pitchfork on a bi-weekly basis. Look for a static compost bin that has plenty of air holes to create an oxygen-rich environment inside the bin.
Purchase an open air two- or three-bay static compost bin if you have a large area you can devote to composting. Multiple bays allow for storing materials to be composted, materials actively composting and finished compost next to each other. As the compost goes through its various stages, it can easily be transported to the next bin with a pitch fork. Look for a multiple-bay unit you can easily set up yourself. Make sure it is easy to transfer the compost material from one bay to the next.