Worm bins can be made of almost any material, however, wood and plastic are the most common. Below are several advantages and disadvantages to each material.
- Wood is very porous, so it allows a significant amount of oxygen into your bin. Oxygen is critical to your worm’s survival
- If built right, wooden bins can be quite eye-catching.
- Wood is a better insulating material than plastic. This is a great feature if you plan to keep your bin in a cooler location during the winter months.
- Wood bins tend to deteriorate quite quickly (usually within 3-4 years).
- These bins tend to weight quite a bit more than plastic bins, especially once they are full of bedding and worms
- The bedding inside of a wooden bin tends to dry out more quickly than the bedding in a plastic bin. This is due to the increased oxygen and circulation within wooden bins (both a blessing and a curse).
CAUTION – Never use pressure-treated lumber to build your worm bin. This lumber has been treated with a variety of chemicals that can become quite toxic to your worms.
- Plastic worm bins require very little work to build/assemble.
- Plastic bins are readily available from a number of composting worm suppliers.
- Plastic bins are very light in weight compared to wooden bins. This is definitely something to consider if your going to be using your worms to teach composting to your kids.
- Plastic is not porous, so it tends to hold moisture. This can have its advantages, however, most of the time you’ll want to ensure a plastic bin also has some sort of drain, so it doesn’t lead to anaerobic conditions in your bin. Worms enjoy moisture, but they’re not very good swimmers. Please see the image below to see how one compost junkie overcame drainage issues in her homemade worm bin.
Note – If you plan to use the liquid (worm leachate) that drains from your bin, please read the following information before using it on your plants.
- You will need to drill more air holes into a plastic bin than you would a wooden bin, because plastic bins don’t breathe as well.
- Plastic bins tend to heat up more in warmer months, which can present problems for your worms, since they prefer cool, moist environments.