Composting news, information & advice

How to Install the Home Composter

So you’ve just received your brand new Home Composter package – now what?

If you are planning to DIY your Home Composter installation, this page is a guide to installing your Home Composter with everything you need to know to make the process as seamless as possible.

Start by watching the video below to see a demonstration by Tim which you can follow along with:

If you want to download or print an installation guide, click here for the PDF version of these instructions. Or keep reading for the written instructions below.

What you should have in your kit:

Rails (4)

Columns (4)

Each column has 4 holes at the base for the hex bolts

Hex Bolts (16)

Hex Bolt Tools:

Flat Hex Bolt guide  (1)

Allen key (1)

You will find it handy to have a pencil or something similar – see Step 2

Lid Frames (4)

Not included in Starter Kit

2-Part Lids (2 parts) or Lid Slats (6)

Not included in Starter Kit 

Hangers for pest-proofing (4)

Not included in Starter Kit

Pest-proofing Sheet (1) 

Not included in Starter Kit

Side Slats (24)

For additional composters

H Joiner bars – 2 for each additional box

Wooden jamb – 1 for each additional box

Installation Instructions

Before you start:

Lay out the columns with their channels facing to your right.Lay out the rails with the extra channels facing towards your right (these channels will face into the composter when installed).

Step 1:   Placing the bolts in the columns

Slide a hex bolt into the hex bolt guide.

Using the hex bolt guide, slide the bolt along the column base so it is above the second hole inside the column.

Insert the allen key through the hole above to gently guide the bolt into the hole.

Repeat the above process for the first hole in the same column.

Repeat this process for the other 3 columns.

Step 2 : Joining the column to the rail

Stand a rail upright, and lean it on a bench or table with the channel-side of the rail facing the table.

Placing the allen key and a pencil or similar into the column to hold the bolts in place, line up the bolts with the holes in the rail, and use the allen key to loosely tighten.

Tighten each of the bolts. At this stage bolts should be hand-tight or less.  

You will now have an L-shape frame.

Repeat this process for the other 3 column/rail sets.

You will now have 4 L-shapes, and 8 unused hex bolts

Step 3 : Preparing for the frame

Add the last 2 bolts to each of the columns in the same way, using the hex guide.

These 2 bolts will be at a right-angle to the ones in place.

The bolts should be poking through the channel.

Ensure the channel of the rail is facing the same direction as the bolts poking through.

Repeat this process for each L-shape.

Step 4 : Putting the frame together

Putting two L-shapes together will form the first corner.

Taking one L-shape, carefully lay the column along the ground with the rail standing upright.

Take a second L-shape and, as before, use the allen key and pencil or similar to hold the bolts in place. 

Rest the second L-shape onto the rail of the first L-shape, guiding the bolts into place in the rail (note : if the bolts are not going in easily, the 2 L-shapes may need to be straightened to ensure they are at right-angles).

The side with the two posts can then lie on the ground as the next L-shape is added in the same way.

Repeat the process for the third L-shape.

To add the 4th L-shape, lay the frame  on the ground with one rail standing upright. 

Slide the rail of the 4th L-shape into the column it will be joining to before guiding the corner of the 4th L-shape into the upright rail. Tighten the bolts as before on the corner. Turn the frame upwards and hand tighten the final bolts.

Once the bolts are all in place, place the composter upright so the formed square is on the bottom with the four columns pointing upwards.

Please note: rails should not have contact with the ground when the composter is upright in its final position.

Step 5 : Levelling the Home Composter

Ensuring the Home Composter is level on the ground is important for aesthetic and practical purposes.

The composter is best placed on an earth base.

Levelling can be done by digging down on a side or putting a support under a column. It is best not to raise it more than a few cm.

Levelling can be checked on each side by using a level on the rails.

Once levels are acceptable, all bolts can be fully tightened. You may need to use a lever with the allen key at this stage.

Do a final level check as levels may change when tightening the bolts.

Step 6 : Pest-proofing (Standard and Premium)

The lipped side of the pest proof hangers slots easily into the channels in the rails. 

To support the pest proof mesh, fill the bottom of the composter with chunky carbon such as wood mulch up to the level of the pest proofing hangers. This carbon matter will help filter liquids from the compost pile, and will take some of the weight of the compost so as to reduce the load on the pest proof mesh.

Please note: carbon should also form the base of the pile up to at least the top of the rails. Carbon should be refreshed if it ever becomes too moist. Please be aware that this base level will not form part of the final “compost” as it willnot have been turned as often. It can simply be mixed into the next pile.

The pest proof mesh can now be placed inside the composter frame on top of the hangers and carbon matter.

Step 7 :  Putting the slats in place

The wood slats can now be slid into the cavities of each column. 

There are six wooden slats per side.

Step 8 : The Lid (Standard and Premium)

The lid frames rest between the columns and over the wood slats.

The 2-part lids easily slide into the lid frames. 

Lid slats simply sit inside the lid frames

Step 9: Adding more composters 

Additional composters can be attached together at any time.

If you are adding extra composters ensure they are level to each other by the same process as levelling the first composter.

The two joiner bars will slide into the ‘H’ space formed by the two columns together, and will hold them firmly in place.

Only one wall of side slats is required between the adjoining boxes. A jamb will slide into the cavity between the two rails.

Step 10 : You are ready to compost!

For information on setting up your compost, visit our website and watch The Art of Composting (coming soon).

Remember, you can save these instructions to your computer or print them by clicking here. If you need more help with your install, contact us and speak to our friendly team.

Saying goodbye to 2020

It’s hard to believe this long, long year has come to an end. In spite of all the challenges of 2020, we feel we have made real progress in educating people and spreading the word on the importance of local composting across the country. Every day we are one step closer to Richard’s vision.

We’ve been so busy this year we’ve barely had the time to look back and think about everything that’s been done. So we think it’s high time we did a bit of reflecting. So, we’ve decided to look back at the big things that happened this year and share some photos of our best moments. Some of our highlights of 2020 were…

Comparing small and larger compost box sizes

Introducing: CarbonCycle Home Composters

Since the first CarbonCycle Composter was assembled several years ago, Richard’s vision has remained strong: widespread composting on a local scale is what our soil, our plants, our planet, and what we as people need to survive and thrive. This year, we have released a new small compost box that will extend local composting from larger properties and community gardens to personal properties and home gardens. Introducing: the CarbonCycle Home Composter.

Composting at Moanataiari School

CarbonCycle in Schools

 Ever wondered why we don’t compost at school? So did we. Over the last few months, here The CarbonCycle Co we have been busy installing our composters in several New Zealand public schools, from primary to high schools. We have had so much fun working with kids and teaching them about the importance of composting for our soils and our planet. And we hope that our vision of widespread local composting and urban farming is another step closer to reality.

 This article will explain in more detail what we have been doing and why.

CarbonCycle compost to superfoods

Why is local composting important?

In most parts of the world, organic waste still goes straight to methane-producing landfills. Nowadays, some governments and local councils are starting to realise that composting is essential for sustainable communities. However, their solution is usually an industrial-level compost plant or anaerobic digester, where food waste is transported from communities to an external processing plant. While they have good intentions, unfortunately this practice actually creates more problems and is not the ideal way to deal with organic waste. We believe that local composting is always best, and here is why.

Making compost locally is critical to the reform of our food supply. Composting can, should and must be done on a local scale.”

– Richard Wallis (Doctor Compost)
what is compost

What is Compost?

There is some confusion as to what compost actually is, and what it does. Compost is the result of plant or animal-based matter decomposing in a controlled manner. The end result is a substance which is rich in nutrients and can be used as a soil conditioner to help plants grow. Compost is the product of the act of composting.


Choosing wood for composter slats

The choice of material for the sides and possibly the lid of your composter is a very important decision. And, of course, although we have had good experiences with other materials like composites, most of you will want to use wood. If you want to use wood then, regardless of whether you are making your own composter or sourcing your own timber for your CarbonCycle Composter, finding the right wood is essential to having a long-lasting and well-functioning composter.