The Earth Machine compost bin is simple in design, but it sure does work. This article will provide you with a complete review of this compost bin, including some very useful tips and advice.
Whether you've been using an Earth Machine for years, or it's a new addition to your family, you're going to benefit from reading this review.
To start, we thought it would be helpful to evaluate the Earth Machine using the 10 criteria we use to assess all compost bins. These 10 criteria can be found on our best compost bin page. So, let's begin...
1. Volume - FAIL
Ideally, a compost bin can handle a minimum of 27 cubic feet (or 1 cubic yard) of compost ingredients. The Earth Machine compost bin falls short in this area; only being able to handle a maximum of 10.5 cubic feet of waste. Therefore, the ingredients inside the Earth Machine will take longer to break down than those put into a larger compost pile, since piles smaller than 27 cubic feet lack adequate volume to generate high temperatures.
Note - High temperatures are not a necessary requirement for composting to occur; however, they do reduce the time it takes to make quality compost.
2. Rodent-Proof - PASS
The Earth Machine is almost 100% rodent proof. It comes with a very tight-fitting lid and plastic bolts to secure it to the ground.
We have heard the odd story of rodents digging underneath the Earth Machine to access it's contents, but we've never experienced this ourselves. If this does occur, we recommend placing a wire mesh (e.g. chicken wire) underneath your compost bin before setting it in place. The manufacturer's of the bin also sell a base which is intended for this very purpose.
3. Affordable - PASS
You can't beat FREE! We are fortunate enough that our municipality has a relationship with the producers of the Earth Machine (Norseman Environmental), so we received our bins at no cost. Well, we can't say that, we're sure the cost of the bins is buried somewhere in our taxes.
That being said, there are reports that the Earth Machine compost bin can range in cost from $30-$100 plus shipping. If you visit the official Earth Machine website, you'll see that they also offer various truckload sales throughout the year.
Overall, if you're going to have to pay more than $40 for your Earth Machine, save your money and use it to build your own compost bin.
4. Appearance - PASS
We find the appearance of the Earth Machine compost bin to be quite aesthetically-pleasing. It's black color, and small nature, allow it to blend into most setting in your yard.
5. Easy to Add New Ingredients - PASS
With it's large opening in the top, we have never had a problem adding new ingredients to our Earth Machines. Although, we tend to stick to the manufacturer's guidelines and only add kitchen scraps. We tend to limit the amount of yard waste we add to these bins (we have larger piles for these materials).
6. Ease of Turning - FAIL
This is probably one of the biggest drawbacks of the Earth Machine compost bin. It is difficult to turn/flip it's contents. The opening in the top is large enough to easily add new materials, but a real pain in the butt to try and access with a compost fork; however, we still manage to do it. We assume that this lack of maneuverability is why the manufacturer is now selling hand-held compost turners with their units.
There are other methods to turning this bin's contents, such as the lift and flip technique. This technique involves lifting the entire Earth Machine off of it's contents, and re-situating it nearby. Then you can shovel the contents of the pile back into the newly positioned bin, flipping them while you go. Sound like a lot of work? We think so.
Caution - If you're going to try turning your Earth Machine compost with a compost fork, please be careful of the lips around the bin's top rim. You can see these in the photos below. We've scraped our hands on these lips quite a few times, and it's quite painful.
The Earth Machine compost bin is made with a minimum 50% post-consumer recycled materials.
Ideally, the Earth Machine would be made of 100% post-consume recycled materials; however, in order for the product to be somewhat rigid, we think it needs some new materials. If we're wrong in our thinking, please send us your comments or write to us using the form below.
8. Expandable - PASS
One of the great things about the Earth Machine compost bin is that it's expandable. That is, if you need more composting bin (i.e. more room for your composting materials), just add one or two more bins to your system. It's that easy.
9. Promotes Air Circulation - PASS
Aside from the difficulty in turning the bin's contents, the Earth Machine does come with adequate ventilation. As you can see by the pictures below, there is ventilation in near the lid of the bin as well as along the sides.
10. Calls for Use - PASS
The final criteria we use to judge a compost bin is whether or not it calls you to use it. We believe this criteria hinges on the compost bin's location. Is the bin nice enough that it be situated near your living quarters? If so, you're much more likely to use it.
As for the Earth Machine compost bin, we believe it passes this test with flying colors. Due to it's pleasing aesthetics and compact design, it fits quite nicely near any house or garden shed.
Here is a great story about one of our Tribe members and how she turned two Earth Machines into super-productive worm composting bins.
Overall, the Earth Machine satisfies 8 of our 10 criteria used to evaluate compost bins. That's pretty darn good. So whether you're an avid composter, or just starting out, we believe this compost bin will help meet your composting needs.
The following is a list of additional benefits provided by the Earth Machine that weren't listed in the 10-points above.
The following is a list of helpful tips that will make your Earth Machine composting experience a lot more enjoyable and efficient.
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