Home Why Doesn't Composting Evolve?
Composting is a wonderously beneficial activity that is practiced by thousands of people around the globe, and to many of us it is a healthy addiction. I myself have been at it for two decades. At times I have taken extended breaks, but have always resumed the hobby with a greater zeal than ever. However, the engineer in me has been nagged by something that apparently nobody else notices: Composting equipment has not significantly evolved in decades.

Now...composting is a low-tech hobby (one reason I love it so!)...there are four categories of simple equipment that pertain only to the it:

  • Bins
  • Sifters
  • Thermometers
  • Aerators
  • Moisteners(!)
Of these, only the thermometer could utilize "modern" technology such as a display, battery, and microcontroller. Some sifters are driven by electric motors. Bins and aerators (backyard size...NOTE TO ROB...IN THE SCOPE SECTION MAKE SURE TO STATE THAT INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT IS NOT CONSIDERED OR DISCUSSED HERE.) are purely mechanical with the former having no moving parts.

The oldest reference on composting that I possess is "The Complete Book of Composting" by J.J. Rodale and Company, which was first published in 1960. Based on this book I conclude that the only significant innovation in compost bins is the use of plastic as a material. The other "innovation" would be the "tumbler" style of bin, but I consider this design to be a useless gimmick with visual appeal and nothing more.

The second most important piece of equipment, the sifter (*the sifter may very well be the most important piece of composting equipment, as is discussed in the sifter article), is also lagging in development.

Compost thermometers and aerators are not discussed in the Rodale book (*the Rodale book is used as a historical reference) so therefore I conclude that the standard 20" long compost thermometer is a recent innovation. (Note to Rob you may want to contact Reotemp (and Taylor?) and learn the history of the devicee). I find it ironic that these unnecessary (thermometers are fun at first but to use them as a gauge for "turning" is optional...and the truth is that a 6" cooking thermometer can serve the same purpose...that a pile needs to get hot is another compost myth.

Enough about the equipment - let's cut to the chase. Why doesn't....

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