New Zealand Box Style Three-Bin System

Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters

Finished three-bin system
1. With this construction style, the boards fit snugly together, which helps decrease evaporation from the bin.
young woman removing boards from front of one of the bins
2. The bin boards easily slide upward for access to the contents.
Young woman covering bin contents with plastic sheet
3. The top of the organics is covered with a tarp or plastic sheet. This decreases evaporation.
Young woman looking at finished compost in the bin
4. In due time, finished compost is produced.
Contents of bin covered with plastic and weight down with large pieces of wood
5. When you are finished working in the bin, cover the top with tarp or plastic and then weigh down the edges.

Additional comments about New Zealand Box Style Three-Bin System:

  • Maintain a moisture level in the organic materials that it is similar to the moisture content of freshly brewed coffee grounds, saturated but not dripping.

  • If the bin is not in the shade, it may be covered with two layers of shade fabric or cardboard.

Also see our slide show about the New Zealand bins at the Bernalillo County Extension Office.

Please read our brochure Composting in the Desert.

If you have questions you may send them in an email to

To see other styles of homemade compost bins see Homemade Compost Bins for the Desert.

Photos are by Mike Stoy.