Speedibin Composter Questions & Answers
How long should I expect my Speedibin to last?
About 25 years, depending on the abuse it gets. There are many of the original Speedibins that have been in use continuously since 1989, 33 years! The founder of Fresh Earth Products, Joyce McMenamon, has four bins that she has been using for 30 years. They are still going strong. The galvanized screen on the bottom lives in the toughest conditions and will most likely need replacing after several years. Ultimately, these bins are metal, holding acidic soil and getting dings from forking over, so they will eventually rust and need to be recycled. Great value though: at $629 over 25 years, they cost less than $3 a month, way less than Netflix plus you are making your own soil amendment!
Why are Speedibins not made of plastic, like most composters?
Speedibins are designed to keep out rats and other vermin but rats can chew through plastic. Rats are one of the main reasons people won't compost at home. We have removed that obstacle by making a composter out of metal. No gaps are more than 1/4 inch so even mice can't chew in. Our goal is to make backyard composting as easy and safe as possible.
What type of maintenance is involved to keep my Speedibin looking great and lasting for years?
Clean occasionally with warm soapy water and touch up any scratches with rust-proof paint. Make sure the ground where the Speedibin is placed remains level with good drainage.
How do I replace the bottom screen?
You can easily replace it with 1/4 inch mesh hardware cloth from a hardware store. It should cost about $5. The screen is 27.5 x 30.5 inches (70 x 77 cm). Hardware cloth is usually sold in 36 inch rolls so you can simply bend the edges to fit the bottom snugly.
Where should I put my Speedibin?
Make sure that the ground is level so that the screen lays flat and rocks don't pike up. It needs to be on earth so that microorganisms, worms and water can transfer. Do not put it on concrete or wood. Make sure the ground underneath drains so puddles do not form under the bin. The bin breathes from the bottom as well as the sides and you do not want it to go anaerobic. If it is in sun it will speed the process slightly but if it is too sunny, the compost may dry out and necessitate watering. You will probably want it fairly close to the kitchen so that is convenient to dump scraps. You will be doing that more frequently than taking finished compost to the garden.
Do I need more than one Speedibin?
The Speedibin is larger than most backyard composters and one unit should be all that is needed for the average family living on a city lot.
For larger lots on half an acre or more, community gardens, or schools - we recommend starting with two Speedibins. This allows you to fill one while the other finishes making compost. You can always add another Speedibin if two are not enough. Some co-operatives use five Speedibins! Check out our blog on this topic: Managing Your Compost With One Bin.
Can I compost meat in my Speedibin?
Yes, with some qualifications. Meat, fish, bones, prawn heads, even dairy will stink if not composted carefully. You need at least a couple of feet depth of lively compost to start. Bury the stinky stuff in at least six inches of active compost, cover with a couple inches of carbon-rich browns and then wait patiently. That high-nitrogen protein takes months rather than weeks to decompose. But the worms love it! You will be enriching the compost. The bones remain but they make great slow-release bone meal, especially if you crush them.
Should I wear gloves when assembling the Speedibin?
Yes. While we make every effort to remove metal burrs or other sharp edges, some of the panels and the bottom mesh may still have sharp edges or points. Once the Speedibin is assembled, all exposed edges are folded and safe to handle without gloves.
Where is Speedibin made?
The Speedibin is made in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada, by Wesgar Inc. Renowned for their precision fabrication, they use a CNC punch to ensure cutting accuracy. The panels are powder coated in-house.
The Scholar composters are made in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. A metals engineer cuts and bends the corrugated sheets and a Red Seal carpenter builds the panels using red and yellow cedar. Designed to withstand rambunctious children, these composters are tough AND beautiful!
The Speedibin Value Proposition (or, How Come Speedibins Cost So Much?)
So many times, people see a Speedibin, love it, want it, but wonder why it costs so much. Here are the reasons:
Speedibin composters are made here in BC Canada, not offshore somewhere, so we can support local workers plus keep an eye on quality. The fabrication shop pays a professional wage. Sadly, the price of materials has gone up recently, like pretty much everything sold in Canada.
Our composter model designed for school gardens, the Scholar, is made near us on Vancouver Island. One Red Seal carpenter is on Denman Island in the Comox
Valley and the other carpenter is in Victoria BC. Both are meticulous in their workmanship. We want to make sure that they are compensated properly. And of course, the corrugated metal and the red and yellow cedar have gone up in price.
We don’t sell through retailers as there is just not enough margin for the 30% or more markup that a store would require. We want to keep the price as reasonable as
we can. I guess we are a boutique composter business, rather than a commodity supplier to a box store. We only sell through our online store or directly to customers locally here on Vancouver Island.
We are eager to sell a quality product. A Speedibin composter will most likely be the last composter you will need to buy. If you do the math, a $619 composter will be $2.06 a month for 25 years, so an upfront cost, yes, but ultimately very good value. I would rather buy a good quality product and enjoy it for decades, rather than buy something cheap, be frustrated using it, and after a few years truck it off to the dump and buy another. If you are looking at Speedibins, you are most likely the kind of person who wants a quality product that will last. If you need pruners, for example, you will probably seek out good quality ones that would make you happy for years.
Also, Speedibins are metal so when they eventually succumb to the inevitable, they can be recycled. Plastic compost bins are often made of recycled material but don’t have the mobius loop logo and usually end up in the dump after a few years. My dental hygienist said that she has a service that picks up their organic waste for $30 a month. So in under two years she could be saving money with a Speedibin. And she wouldn’t have to buy compost! And if you have “free” curbside pick up for your organics, know that your taxes are paying the ongoing costs for those big noisy trucks running around your neighborhood, as well as a crew and a huge compost facility with leachate control and machinery and crew. Managing all those organics takes money; they don’t magically disappear.
One advantage to our boutique shopping experience is that we can help with any composting advice. If you are near the Comox Valley, you are welcome to come over to our place in Merville and I can show you how we make compost in our bin and answer any questions you can come up with. Or give us a shout. We love talking compost!
Well thought out design
Speedibins are designed to be super easy to use. The large lid makes it convenient to add fresh scraps. The front door slides up to easily remove finished compost. A perforated metal sheet on the bottom allows microbes, worms and water to transfer but keeps out rats. The aeration holes near the bottom use the chimney effect: hot air rises. The lid keeps rain from leaching out nutrients and keeps the moisture in the bin. When I lift the lid of our bin, it almost looks like it is raining in there. And there are no gaps more than ¼ inch so even mice can’t get in. All this makes using a Speedibin a pleasure to use!
Our goal is to help you make compost conveniently at home and we sincerely hope that a Speedibin will make that safe and easy and good value. Feed the soil microbes that feed the plants that feed us!