What to do when compost bin is full? If you own a compost bin and if you constantly go through occasions where your compost bin runs full you may be wondering what to do next. 

So, in this article I will be mainly describing what you should do when you come across an issue like this. The very first thing you need to do when your compost bin is full is to avoid adding any more materials into it. Next cover the compost bin so that you could let it give time to compost.

Does A Compost Bin Need Air Holes

What to do when compost bin is full?

Stop adding more things

I suggest you first stop providing the compost materials. Next you may turn the compost bin multiple times so that it would make the ingredients in the compost bin mixed. Ultimately it would speed up the decomposition rate as well.

Furthermore, it would create more space and you could end up adding more ingredients into it. All you need to do is simply grab the compost bin from its each side and then lift it off its hinges. Ultimately you will see how the bottom of the bin will be open.

Mix the compost

Thereafter you may use either a shovel or a pitchfork and then mix it further so that it would mix it even better. Once you do this, it would help you to break down the large materials further and fasten the decomposition. Once you mix the ingredients well, it would speed up the microbial activities in the compost bin as well. In other words, The decomposition would take place at a faster rate since it would ensure that all the materials in the compost bin gain a better air flow and sufficient moisture levels.

Once the decomposition takes place, it would heat up the compost bin. On the other hand, if you don’t turn it , chances are that it will dry up and don’t give you desired results of the composting activity. You could call this carbonization. This literally means there are no moisture levels available for the bacteria to actively function and break down the materials in the compost bins.

If the compost amount you have is small, you could simply take a shovel and mix it up so that all the large materials would break down and evenly distribute all the ingredients in the bin. However, if you have a large bin, you could either use a pitchfork or a garden fork and then do the task. These tools usually come up with long handles and with sharp prongs on each end. You could use them to turn over large amounts of compost as well.

Sell or give away

Sell or give away your compost is another thing which you could do when your compost is full. Composting is a way of reducing landfill waste and saving the land. So instead of disposing some of these items into a regular dustbin you could make use of them for composting. Generally speaking, 25 % of the regular wastage can be used for composting. So, if your compost is full, you may give away this to one of your friends or share it with your neighbors.

Rotate more

Rotating your compost pile is one more crucial thing which you could do here. Ensure that you rotate the compost pile on a constant basis. You could do it once a week while watering them as appropriate. If you are unsure how wet your compost pile is, you could simply take a moisture meter and check the moisture in it. I suggest you do this step, when the pile’s one third is full.

If you are into composting you may also already know that it is vital to have the right balance of green material and brown material for the composting to take place effectively.

That said, the right carbon Nitrogen balance needs to be 30:1 in your composting pile. Furthermore, if you could sense any foul smell from the pile you need to remove meat, dairy products and other cooked grains. Bear in mind that even a slight imbalance of these ratios would male the decomposing process slower.

If you have a wooden compost pile, I suggest you need to wait for two days once you assemble the pile. Next you may remove a handful of top layer soil and look how warm they are. Keep checking this on a daily basis.

Once it has reached its right temperature level, you may turn the pile again. You could do this step for a couple of days and then it would help them achieve the right temperature. Apart from that, turning your compost bin would create a healthy aerobic condition in the compost pile. This is healthy for an effective organic material decomposition. Further it would make all the materials exposed to air as well. I urge you to use a compost tumbler to turn these as it would be more effective then.

Bear in mind that a temperature range above 120 degrees Fahrenheit is beneficial for microbe activity in the pile. If you wish you could make use of a thermometer and check the temperature there. If you can’t see a major difference in the temperature , you need to start over.

What to do when compost bin is full infographic

Special tips

Avoid using soggy soil

If you are living closer to the coastal lines, you need to avoid using soggy soil. Further if you don’t turn the compost piles on a frequent basis it would also make the compost pile too wet and full. Once your compost is soggy and damp it would badly impact on the quality of the soil mix.

So make sure that you turn the soil on a frequent basis. That way it would make all the ingredients receive a proper air flow and right moisture levels as well. In the meantime ,make sure that you apply water for it as well. Furthermore, if your compost pile is full and if it has soggy soil in it, you need to add more fresh materials. That way you could help the soggy soil to revive. You could consider digging out the compost pile and add dry leaves or shredded paper.

Further if you are lacking sufficient materials, you may consider mixing them with water and then apply. Moreover I urge you to turn the compost pile on a constant basis if it is too wet too. it would allow all the materials to absorb sufficient moisture levels and proper air flow evenly.

In addition to that you need to adjust a right balance of carbon and Nitrogen levels in the compost pile if its soil is soggy. You may also consider adding a compost aeration tool to add more air in the compost pile.

If your compost smell do this

If your compost pile is full chances are that it may start to release a foul smell as well. So, to avoid that you need to add both green and brown material at the right ratio. When you keep adding green materials it would make your compost bin too soggy.

Simultaneously you need to add brown materials so that the ratio will balance out. Apart from that avoid using meat items dairy items as they would start to release a foul smell. Further it would attract animals too.

If you have a compost pile which is full and if it has smelly soil in it, you need to add a soil layer to the pile. That would attract more bacteria to the soil mix. Furthermore you may also add a finished compost layer also for this.

You may also use a horse and sprinkle some water in it too. ensure that you apply some water at the very moment you apply new materials too. You need to further check where you have placed the compost pile too. If you have placed it under a roof chances are that it may have gotten some rainfall which would ultimately result in a smelly compost pile which is full.

Further if the compost pile is lacking sufficient sunlight, you need to expose them for more sunlight exposure.

What should you do when your compost is ready?

Once the compost finishes, you need to harvest the compost first. You could simply empty the compost bin to the ground. You may use your garden shovel for this task too. You can separate the fully composted ones to the ground and leave the compost which are yet to finish in the compost bin.

When emptying the compost bin, you could simply lift the compost bin up too. It would empty all the compost and end up landing on the ground. Next place the empty compost bin on the ground while mixing the ingredients which have not broken down well with a fork.

What to do when compost bin

Related questions

How long does it take for Compost to Breakdown?

It would take approximately 2-3 months for the composting process to take place. However it may change depending on the conditions available in the composting process. Furthermore, the materials which you have used for composting may take 6 months from 1 year to compost entirely.

Can you keep adding to a Compost Bin?

You could keep adding materials periodically if you remove your compost methodically. You could call this method as an add as you go method.

Should my compost bin be Covered?

You should not cover the compost bin as if you do so it would limit proper air flow and cause waterlogged conditions in the bin.. Once you leave it open, it would contribute to a proper air flow and proper water circulation in the pile. These two are fundamental requirements for an efficient composting process.

How often should I turn over my compost?

You need to ideally turn over your compost two to three times per week. As explained in the above, once you turn over the compost pile, it would better the air circulation in the compost. Ultimately it would speed up the composting process as well. if you don’t turn it over, composting would take at a slow rate.


So now you know “What to do when compost bin is full?” So, before wrapping this up, I hope this article gave you an insight on what to do when your compost is full. Try these methods out and get the maximum results of the composting process and make it more effective.

Credit to : Tumbleweed

Read Next : Compost Tumbler Do’s And Don’ts | Better Comparison |


Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Environment and Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. My mission is to help other. You can use this knowledge to enhance your life THE BEST environments you possibly can.

Write A Comment