eco-friendly or biodegradable paint for compost bin

jjbjjbhJune 28, 2008

Finally. My compost bin is ready. I am anxious to get my first compost batch started. The 3ft diameter bin is made of hardware fabric(half inch) with wooden posts from a pallette securing it at intervals of about 18 inches or so. The problem is that I rent the home and my owner would like me to paint the wooden posts green so as not to be an eyesore to the neighbors and sort of blend it with the green of the surrounding bushes.

Any ideas as to what kind of eco-friendly and/or biodegradable paint to use and where to find it?

I dont want the toxins/chemicals from the paint to leach into my compost and hopefully the paint would not be too expensive.

Thank you all in advance.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Those posts will eventually darken and fade into the background without you doing anything and apinting them with even a really good exterior paint will mean that in a very few years, 5 at the most, you will be repainting. But if you must paint any really good exterior paint will work.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 7:05AM
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jjbjjbh

Thanks for the advice, kimmsr. Appreciate it very much.:)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 9:43AM
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oldmainer(z5 Maine)

Hello...another non-toxic option you might consider...rather then paint...is to staple some green material to your posts. It should last as long as any paint... you might put on...before it rots off...and you won't have to worry about any of the chemicals in the paint ending up in your compost. Franklin

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 10:21AM
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tennandy

seems like any latex type paint would not harm the compost and it's easy cleanup

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:16PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

As a painter and gardener, I suggest that there's no such thing as a truly eco-friendly paint.

My advice would be to use the paint that will last the longest in the damp environment of your bin, if you must paint at all.

I fear that milk paint would break down quickly and leach pigments into your soil. I don't think you want a paint that "degrades," bio- or otherwise.

(But then, I'm unwilling to add printed paper to my compost, because of my concerns about pigments. I don't care if the inks are soy based. In my opinion that doesn't address the issue of the colorants.)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:14AM
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pennymca

Here's another site for milk paint, pigments from from iron oxides, nice color selection in the historical paint swatches (more natural color green), and available in US for 10.95. Enough to mix a pint (which could be thinned out) or as little as you need at a time and store the rest of the powder.

The little bit of hydrated lime, milk casein and pigments from Mother Earth shouldn't make that much of an ecological dent in your compost pile, especially after you mix it with water.

The hydrated lime is what is used in white washing houses, has been used for centuries, and is considered more ecologically friendly than latex paint.

Here is a link that might be useful: Real Milk Paint

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:57AM
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annpat(5-Maine)

Tell your landlord that no one will even notice the slats once you fill the bin with rotting garbage.

I'm just kidding.

You don't really need slats at all, if he objects to the slats. Most of my bins are freestanding wire circles.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:19AM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

I used interior paint from bioshieldpaint.com and was quite happy with it. They also have a line of wood stains - some nice green colors - described as

'a solvent-free water-based, Zero VOC, low-drip, resilient wood stain finish for interior and exterior applications. Aqua Resin Stain Finish is based on nontoxic and natural raw materials that are harmless to the environment and waterways. The finish is completely solvent-free.'

They also have some linseed-oil-based wood sealers and a few colors (although not green) of milk paint.

I'm planning on trying the sealers on my garden structures, but haven't yet. If I were in your position, I'd probably stain, then seal and hope it lasts!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bioshield Paint

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:07PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

I would suggest using an exterior oil base stain not really eco friendy but as a renter you want to comply and not ruffle any feathers the stain will not flake or fall off like paint will. It will not leach any more than your plastic water can

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:08PM
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luckygal(3b)

What I'd probably try is to stain the wood with some natural plant material after sanding. Think of how resistant grass stains are on clothing. Might not last too long but the wood will weather and you could reapply easily. You might even soak the slats awhile in the liquid in a plastic bag.

Here is a link that might be useful: natural plant dyes

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 12:14AM
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anubis_pa(z5 PA)

I wonder if bamboo stakes would hold well enough, and be esthetically pleasing enough, to use in place of the pallet wood if you're going to spend a little money anyway.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:10PM
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idaho_gardener

I think that kimmsr had it right the first time.

Paint got a bad reputation because up into the 70's paint was made out of lead. Modern paint is made out of titanium, which is non-toxic.

I would stop by the paint counter at your local big-box home improvement store and look to see if they are selling any 'seconds' for cheap.

I'm going to be doing something similar - I'm going to paint the sides of my pallet-bins in a 'camo' pattern of greens. I'll bet it works well to hide the compost bins.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:58PM
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lizzie_nh

I know this is really old, and I don't make it a practice to dredge up and comment on old threads, but since I found this while Googling today, I figure someone else may find it in the future, too. So, I thought I'd add my two cents.

First... I think the concern about toxins leaching into the compost is a non-issue. This is especially true if only the outside of the posts are painted, as, it would seem, would be the case in the scenario posted by the OP.

Second... while I know the original post here does not quite fall into this category, I have noticed a certain inconsistency and perhaps even hypocrisy among some "environmentalists" (largely among well-educated and affluent people I know who also rail against "consumerism".) It does not, for instance, help the earth if you buy an expensive new elaborate plastic compost bin. It's the "Whole Foods" phenomenon... a whole business has grown up around making consumers feel virtuous. Along those lines... it would also usually be better to use whatever old paint or stain you happen to have on hand, rather than buy a can of new "environmentally friendly" paint or stain. If you don't have any, ask your friends/neighbors/coworkers... most people have a large stock of half-empty cans. Better to use up whatever is going to be thrown away than to purchase new stuff. I stained the exterior of my pallet compost bin with some leftover deck stain.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 3:14PM
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