In the city, it’s hard to imagine what life was like before we had our modern garbage bins. Compost is one of the basic building blocks of any healthy garden.
Whether you’re working on a new garden, planning a backyard makeover or just moving dirt around (and not always in that order!), you’ve likely used a compost bin. Compost bins are designed to keep kitchen and yard waste separated.
But why exactly are compost bins black in color? Well, there are reasons for it including absorbing and keeping the sun’s heat and warmth, in addition to hiding the disgusting dark content inside from being seen easily from outside.
Although I’ve never had a problem with my compost bin’s black color, I’ve heard several people wondering why it’s so.
Let’s explore a couple of the reasons in the coming sections.
Why are compost bins usually black?
In the quest for an eco-friendly means of disposing of waste, there are many options available.
One approach that is gaining popularity is the black compost bin.
These bins are a black color as opposed to the usual compost bins that have a more earthy tone.
Black compost bins are an interesting choice.
They are one of the few pieces of lawn equipment that can actually be used outdoors.
But, like all black items, they are very hard to see at a distance, and difficult to find if you are inside a building.
So, why black?
Turns out there could be a few explanations for the color.
- Absorb sun’s heat
- Reduce sunlight
- Keep warmth
- Discourage pests and rodent
- Hide the dirt away
1. Absorb the sun’s heat
As any landscaper knows, you can’t dump your yard waste into your backyard composter until it’s been sitting in the sun for about a week.
That’s because decomposing food and yard waste generate heat, which is then absorbed by the black bin.
The idea is to keep your composting bin in the sun for about a week, then you can dump it in your backyard where it will decompose and generate heat.
What’s so special about black bins?
It’s because black absorbs sunlight, keeping your compost bin warmer for a longer time.
Heat makes compost break down faster.
If the container is black, the absorbed sun’s rays will hasten the decomposition process.
Heating the compost pile in the sun also helps kill disease and weed seeds.
2. Reduce the amount of light entering the bin
Composting, a process by which organic matter—such as food waste, tree leaves, and yard trimmings—is broken down by microorganisms in an attempt to convert it into biodegradable, fertile soil, has been a popular method of cleaning up the yard and reducing waste since ancient Egypt.
In addition to its aesthetic benefits, composting is also beneficial in the reduction of pollutants that are released into the environment when organic materials are disposed of.
The amount of light that enters a compost bin can help determine the soil’s temperature and pH level and exert more influence on the composting process.
Black bins are a way to improve your compost system for a greener, greener world.
They are also a smart choice for homeowners who want to cut down on the amount of light entering their bins.
To understand why this matters, let’s take a look at what happens to light when it passes through a compost system.
Bacteria need light to survive and they are the organisms that break down your organic waste and turn it into compost.
Too much light, like the kind of intensity bright bins receive will inhibit the growth and production of bacteria in the compost.
Too much sun can also destroy the microbes.
Therefore, the color black helps shield excess sunlight.
3. Keep warmth
With black being the color of winter and the one color that evokes a look of cold, grim and emotionless, it’s no surprise that most people tend to shy away from black in their yard.
But, it’s the time of year when black is the go-to color for many people, and for good reason.
Compost bins are different in color to keep warm.
Black is the color that will absorb the most heat from the sun and keep the composting materials warm for longer.
Much of the work in keeping a garden healthy is done by microorganisms, and one common method of getting the microorganisms to work is to keep the compost warm.
Keeping the compost warm keeps the microorganisms working harder and creating a compost that has a higher heat content.
Enclosed black bins also help to keep the smell in.
4. Keep away unwanted insects and pests
Composting is a great way to get rid of waste and save money.
It takes time, but with the right tools and a little effort you can have a thriving compost pile.
For organic waste, using soil amendments and a cover helps to keep out pests.
To make compost bins look less attractive to pests, a black tarp is recommended by experts.
Black tarp helps to cover bins, which makes the tarp less attractive to insects and pests, and also provides better ventilation for the compost.
This will keep your worms happy and keep your pile from attracting unwanted visitors.
5. Less revealing
Black is the color of the void, that has no hue, and so it is hard to see.
Black has no color and is invisible.
That is why people like black compost bins.
Black colored compost bins are a popular idea.
The black color helps the compost to decompose faster to a dark brown color, which hides the dirt inside.
This makes the composting process easier to camouflage and hides the smell from the neighbors.
The black color also makes the bin look more attractive and professional.
6. Black is a versatile color
For many homeowners, the compost bin is a necessary piece of the garden.
Black compost bins are a great way to add some decorative flair to your yard.
Black in general, is one of the most versatile colors.
It can go with just about any style or decor because it is a great neutral color.
It can be used as a primary color or as an accent color to go with a variety of other colors.
It’s also a standard color for bins in the garden center.
This is because bales of straw, for example, are made from stems and leaves that are naturally a dark green color.
Compost bins have been around for a while, but they haven’t changed much over the years, so they’re often overlooked in the garden.
Why not change that?
Consider installing a compost bin that’s a different color, black maybe.
You can often find compost bins that are painted in a cool color, or one that has a fun pattern and a fun name like the Black Beauty.
Should my compost bin be in the sun?
Sunlight is the best thing for your compost pile, but some people don’t have access to it because their homes have little windows or are in the shade.
If this is the case for you, you can still have a healthy compost pile.
A cast iron or stainless steel covered compost bin is the best way to go.
It will still produce tons of heat, and there will be no problem with the compost being too hot.
According to the National Gardening Association, some of the benefits of composting include that it reduces the amount of water needed to water plants, decreases the amount of fertilizer needed, and decomposes in a relatively short period of time; this helps prevent weeds and disease and makes the soil more fertile and rich.
In the spring and summer months, homeowners tend to forget about their yard landscaping in favor of taking care of their gardens and enjoying the outdoors.
While it is important to have your yard in top shape, it is also important to maintain your yard’s landscape year round and take advantage of full sunlight so that it remains lush and beautiful.
Why do compost bins have holes in them?
Compost bins offer a cost-effective and easy way to increase the amount of organic matter in your soil, thus increasing the amount of nutrients your plants will receive.
But the same type of bins that are small enough to fit into your backyard shed often become large enough to be a nuisance in your driveway or road and even burst when excess gas accumulates in them.
Compost bins with small holes in them, in contrast, solve this problem by allowing you to make compost out of yard waste within the bin but creating a large gap at the top of the bin to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
In essence, the holes also allow the compost to be aerated.
Aeration holes should be the size of a pencil eraser or smaller.
This is to ensure that the spaces you create are not too big to let rodents in.
Make a few extra holes in the lid so air can escape.
Compost bins or baskets that you place in your yard or garden to collect and hold all the stuff you throw away during the course of the year: food scraps (leftover vegetables and fruits), weeds, dead vegetation, and the like.
The idea is to let all that organic waste decompose as it sits there in the bin, and to let it turn back into the earth, so that it can enrich the soil.
There are people whose compost bins are usually white, as they are left outside overnight to fill up with organic matter.
However, some homeowners have come up with a novel way of using this, and they are either using black tarps or painting the compost bins black in order to make them more aesthetically pleasing.
Some simply enjoy the way they look, while others argue that they do not want them to stand out and to blend in with the design of the backyard.
Compost bins are often filled with dark green compost, which is an unappealing sight.
It’s especially unpleasant if the bin is filled with lots of black, yet it’s too revealing to display all the content.