Composting Micro Bins
O2Compost micro composting bins, or "Micro-Bins" are small, free-standing boxes equipped with a simple pipe-on-grade aeration system. The Micro-Bin is ideally suited for:
- Small farms with 1 to 4 horses (or the equivalent number of other livestock)
- Small organic farms or "Pea Patch Gardens"
- Homes with medium to large landscape areas or vegetable gardens
- University education and research projects
- Pilot Projects when testing new feedstock mixes
The O2Compost “Aerated Micro-Bin Compost System” has been developed specifically to compost the manure, bedding and waste feed generated by 1 to 4 horses. In fact, it is well suited for all small farms or petting zoos with livestock (e.g., sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, rabbits, etc.). It is also ideal for homeowners and gardeners with large quantities of grass, leaves and weeds to compost and even summer camps with food scraps and waste paper.
The Micro-Bins were designed to be inexpensive, portable and easily expanded. The kit includes a small electric blower - normally used to blow up large inflatable toys - and a timer used in the greenhouse industry. While these components are comparatively inexpensive, our tests have shown that they work extremely well for this scale of composting and should provide years of service. This training program may be all that a small farm needs to take full advantage of aerated composting. It may also serve as an inexpensive starting point to learn about aerated composting and then determine whether a permanently installed, larger aerated compost system is appropriate.
The compost bins sit directly on the ground or a paved surface and they can be constructed out of 3/4-inch plywood or 2x6 tongue and groove lumber. Micro-Bins can vary in size, but typical sizes include 4'x4'x4' (~3 cubic yards); 4'x6'4' (~5 cy); and 6'x6'x4' (~6 cy). The materials for the plywood panels are purchased and assembled locally, based on our designs (six alternatives). The kit may also be used to retrofit existing, non-aerated compost bins. Several design options are included in the training manual that comes with the Micro-Bin compost kit.
Our mission is to make the aerated static pile compost technology readily available to all organic waste generators worldwide. Our motto is, “Education before Legislation”, and our primary objective is to instill an attitude of agricultural sustainability and environmental stewardship for all generations that will follow ours.
Goals & Objectives
Our primary goal is to solve a universal manure management problem, simply and economically. Based on our experience; 1) most people resist change, and 2) few people will change if the new methods don’t save both time and money. Aerated composting involves no turning of the pile thereby saving a considerable amount of labor and equipment time. Also, because we convert a raw material into a value-added product, we save the cost of disposal and create a new profit center for those who choose to sell the finished product. In fact, there is a new trend among horse owners to reuse their finished compost as stall bedding, thereby significantly reducing the cost of virgin bedding materials.
By utilizing the heat generated in the composting process, we are able to destroy parasites, pathogens and weed seeds in the finished product. We are therefore able to produce a safe product with unrestricted use in gardens or back on pastures that are actively used for grazing.
Proper manure management can dramatically improve the health of your horses by significantly reducing:
- Parasites and pathogens and related intestinal problems
- Invasive weeds and related health issues
- Dust, ammonia and related respiratory ailments
- Muddy conditions and related hoof problems
- Flies and related eye and skin infections
The topic of manure management and horse health is discussed in great detail in the book, “How to be the Perfect Horsekeeper” by Karen Hayes, DVM (this book is available on Amazon). I encourage to you to buy a copy, read it and pass it along to your family, friends and business associates.
One of our key objectives is to help horse owners protect surface and ground water resources from manure-based contamination.
- Ammonia in very small concentrations is toxic to many species of fish.
- High BOD (i.e. biochemical oxygen demand) levels will suffocate fish.
- High nutrient levels, phosphorus in particular, will lead to algae blooms which will in turn lead to a reduction in dissolved oxygen and will suffocate aquatic life.
- Invasive weeds brought in with animal feed will displace indigenous wetland plant species.
Controlling offensive odors and flies at the “muck pile” can be easily accomplished simply by inducing airflow through the compost pile. By adding a 6-inch thick layer to the top of the pile, odorous gases are absorbed and nutrients are retained in the finished product. The heat of composting destroys fly larvae and the compost cover is not a good breeding habitat. As a result, the horses’ quality of life is improved and your boarders and neighbors will stop complaining.
Upgrade to a Permanent Aerated Bay Compost System
Micro-Bins are the least cost option for beginning an aerated compost system. If you start with a micro composting bin and later upgrade to one of our larger systems, O2Compost will credit you your initial investment toward the cost of your new system.
To learn more about the O2Compost Micro-Bin, view our Product and Service Guide or read our Micro-Bin Compost FAQ's page.
To see examples of completed Micro-Bin Systems, visit our Past Projects page.