Here are some of the questions people have asked about Urbins
Q. What can I put into the Urbin compost?
A. Any kitchen scraps including meat and dairy products. The reason you often hear people tell you not to put meat or dairy into compost is that they can attract rats but this is exactly what we want to happen! Other paper based waste such as loo paper rolls and egg cartons are all good fodder for the compost organisms. Shiny paper products such as magazines are not so great and I've found that "compostable" paper cups and lids dont seem to break down quickly though I guess over time they might.
Q. Is the plywood used in Urbins treated?
A. Yes the plywood is treated. After extensive research into studies done on the uptake by plants of chemicals in treated ply it was apparent that there is no evidence of this happening at levels that would impact on human health. Here is a link to one report that lists some of these studies. https://extension.psu.edu/environmental-soil-issues-garden-use-of-treated-lumber. An Urbin can be used in combination with your own raised beds if you prefer using untreated timber.
Q. How do I stop my compost from smelling bad?
A. Compost that smells bad is anaerobic. This means that your kitchen scraps are rotting rather than composting. You need to add some dry carbon rich material to create a light fluffy texture that allows air to penetrate. The way the Urbin rotates helps this to happen but its important to get the right nitrogen (kitchen scraps) to carbon (dry brown material such as bark chips, wood shavings or dry grass clippings) balance. You will get better at judging this as you become an experienced composter. Too much carbon will slow down the composting process, too little will result in a bad smell.
Q. Is it safe to put dead rats into a raised bed?
A. It's the best place for a dead rat! The microbes in your compost love love love to chow down on animal protein and it's really just adding your own version of blood and bone. You will be amazed at how quickly the compost works at disposing of your dead rats. Its a win win situation.
Q.. Will my Urbin attract flies?
A. The life cycle of a house fly from being laid as an egg to emerging as an adult fly is between11 to 18 days. Because the lower raised beds are fly proof, as long as you empty the drum into the raised bed on a weekly basis you should actually be reducing your fly poulation. Sometimes you may get soldier fly larvae in your compost. These are bigger than maggots and are actually beneficial to the compost process as they are great at breaking down plant material. They are attracted to high levels of nitrogen so if you have them in your compost you may need to start adding some more dry brown carbon based material.