I live in an area where we have municipal composting, so it's quite common that every house has two composting bins: a tall green one (about a meter tall), and a smaller, pail-like one. They pick up compost bins every week. (It becomes landfill material.)

I understand that it's possible to purchase compost liners; but I'm not looking to spend more money, since composting is such a regular activity. What are some free, natural materials I can use to line my compost bins with?

I would also like to minimize the need of washing the compost bins. So for now, I'm trying to line them with newspaper; but this still necessitates putting compostable material inside a plastic bag, and transferring it the night before pickup. Is there a better approach?

  • If someone can tag this with "composting," I would really appreciate it. (Don't have 300 rep)
    – ashes999
    Apr 24, 2011 at 17:22
  • Can you explain the relationship between the two different bins? I don't understand why you have two.
    – Shane
    Apr 25, 2011 at 14:44
  • @Shane it's not really important. What matters is that one bin is big and the other is small, and that content is transferred from the small to the big.
    – ashes999
    Apr 25, 2011 at 20:02
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    I would recommend using a potato sack, except for your mention below of the need to also contain liquids. I think you're out of luck when it comes to trying to find a biodegradable material that is flexible enough to fit inside your existing bin, but won't break down when it gets wet. My opinion is that your best bet will be to just wash your bin out and don't worry about to trying to line it anything.
    – Shane
    Apr 25, 2011 at 21:46
  • @Shane if you can add your answer, I will probably accept it as the best. I think a potato sack is probably (at least the ones around here) resistant to water (minus flooding); or maybe stuffing it with tons of newspaper might work.
    – ashes999
    Apr 26, 2011 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


You can use any biodegradable material for this purpose, including weeds, grass clippings, newspaper, napkins, pizza boxes, cardboard, hay and straw that has gone bad, wood chips, wood shavings, and sawdust.

  • How would I place these in such a way that other material (including possibly liquidy stuff) doesn't dirty the bins?
    – ashes999
    Apr 25, 2011 at 20:03

I like the idea of using a potato sack and lining it with newspaper or something similar. Not 100% sure this will work, but it's worth a shot I'd say. Let us know how it turns out!

  • How would you do this, crawl inside with newspaper and tape? Seems like a over worked problem? Whats wrong with letting them get dirty? Yes, I get that you don't want to have to clean it out all the time, but like Shane said, their just isn't anything else, especially anything biodegradable.
    – allindal
    Apr 27, 2011 at 2:11
  • @Allindal - My understanding is that he's only planning on lining the smaller pail sized bin. I could be wrong though.
    – Shane
    Apr 27, 2011 at 13:55
  • I have to line both; I don't want to have to wash the bigger bin every time either.
    – ashes999
    May 15, 2011 at 18:55

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