The Critter-Proof Manual: Can You Help Us Test It?

How To Build a Critter-Proof composter The Critter-Proof Composting manual is finally ready.

How to Build a Critter-Proof Composter™ is a complete guide, covering 45 pages, with more than 70 step-by-step color photos. It was professionally written, and includes 16 architectural construction drawings.

We’re almost ready to release it. But before we make our sales page go live, there’s just one more important thing we’d like to do.

We want someone who has never seen a Critter-Proof Composter™ under construction to build one from the directions in the manual.

Call us over-cautious. Maybe we are. But if there are any areas where clarity is lacking, or something could be explained better, we want to find it before we offer the manual for sale.

Just to be clear: we don’t mean testing it against bear breaches. There have been a dozen composters in the Powell River area for close to two years now, and they have had no problems. Bears are interested, yes, but once they try and fail to knock it over, and try and fail to break the top in, they move on.

A bear checks out the Critter-Proof Composter
A curious, and by the prints, small bear, had a look at this composter.

And we don’t need any more testing on the quality of the compost, which has been described by Critter-Proof Composter™ owners as “superb.”

We need someone with basic skills, able to build the forms and pour the concrete, to make it from a copy of the instruction manual.

And we’d like it to happen soon.

So our best bet would be someone in Southwestern B.C. or an even milder climate, where the temperature is reliably above 10 C, to give it a go.

You won’t be all alone. Once we know who you are and have sent you the manual, Laurie will be on hand to answer questions by phone or email, should any come up.

If you’re interested, send us a message in the comments below, and let’s get started.

Update on Critter-proof testing:

Thank you to everyone who responded. We have our testers, and as of May 13, the first three bins have been built. We’re  happy to report that all three bins were successfully made according to the plans, and the changes are relatively small, but still worthwhile.

The instruction book is going to the designer for the final edits next week. As soon as the changes have been made, and it’s uploaded, we’ll send out an email letting you know.

Make sure you’re on the list by subscribing – it’s the green box in the upper right-hand corner.

9 Responses

  1. I would love to test the instructions for you. I am in central Texas and have all the required tools and can get the materials with a quick trip for supplies. I also have good but non-expert handyman skills.

  2. Hi Laurie, my name is Dan Egan and I’m a Naturalist at YMCA Camp Mason in western New Jersey. We have school children spend overnight school trips weekly and on weekends on our 600 acres bordering the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Black bears are the largest problem with compost in NJ. We are trying to establish a composting program to reduce waste and are very interested in testing your manual to build a Critter-Proof Composter. Please send me any information if possible. Hope to hear from you soon and I hope you have a great day. Thanks.


  3. Hello,
    A colleague and I are involved in planning a children’s garden and playground site at an inner city school in Louisville, KY. We are scheduling the opening of the garden for the fall semester. The administrator has voiced concerns over including a composter on the site because it might attract rodents. Your type of composter looks to be the perfect answer to our dilemma. I am very interested in learning how to build your composter.

  4. My husband and I have lived in the Grass Valley,Ca. rural area for the past 12 years. We work very hard to recycle everything and to compost all food produce including protein foods. Years ago I purchased two composters designed for protein garbage. They worked great until a family of three bears found where we lived. It is a mom and two cubs. They had to climb over a six foot chain-link fence of our dog run. The following week they got into our three-tier plastic composter. So now we are using the rotating metal composter that sits on a metal frame. But it is not built for marauding bears. I am interested in checking out your critter-proof solution. Thank you, Bonnie Beyer

  5. I would love to help with testing the building phase of your project. I live in the Eastern US in NH on the VT/Mass. border. I would love to compost but have bears. Your composter was on my “to do” list. My sister’s brother-in-law and wife built a stone house and we are considering doing the same thing. He advised me to try a small project first. Your project would be ideal. I would be glad to promote your composter and book when finished.

  6. WOULD LOVE TO HELP WITH THIS. We are in desperate need of a critter-proof compost bin. We compost as part of our school program which means that in addition to staff waste, we compost left overs from about 4500 lunches a year. Currently, all we are doing is providing a raccoon buffet (with our FORMERLY critter proof compost bin).

    We are in FL, near critical sea turtle nesting habitat – so we are doing NO ONE any good with our raccoon buffet.

  7. Hi, we live in White Rock, BC. My family and I would be happy to build your compost bin – it would be a great family project.

  8. Thank you for your contribution to green living and honoring wildlife. I am in a forested mountain area of Southern California. Wanna see if a girl can do it?

  9. Hello,
    I’m anwering on behalf of Buckhorn Public School, Buckhorn, Ontario. We were in contact with you about a year ago inquiring about sourcing a copy of your plans for our school gardens project. We’re still very interested. In fact, we’ve received a grant (Earth Day Fund) to build a critter-proof composter on the school grounds and we are set and ready to move ahead with the project asap. In addition, our local community centre would like to co-host a community composter construction event in mid-May 2011 – we’re in bear country and really looking for workable composting solutions. Our volunteer based for our project includes educators, construction contractors, handy and not so handy folks, students from elementary school through university, and regular folks who enjoying getting dirty.
    Please let us know asap if we can help – we’d sure like to help.

Comments are closed.

learn more about critter-proof composting

If you care about the environment and want to compost, the real problems come on four legs, in small, medium and large sizes: rats, raccoons and black bears.
The Critter-Proof Composter is made using concrete formwork, faced with stone, with recessed bolts holding aluminum lid, front door and back vent in place. As unique as it looks, this design uses proven methods for producing compost

dan egan, new jersey


I thought the manual was great.
It has been wonderful building something that works with the Earth, looks great and will be around for a long time.
As someone taking on this project with little carpentry OR concrete experience, I had a great time learning more, especially from minor mistakes here and there.
I plan on borrowing the forms we made for the camp composter and building one this summer in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York on my family’s lake, which will be even better.

marylou and david, powell river


We have a vegetable garden, and the compost for that is by the garden. But we wanted something to take care of our kitchen wastes. We put everything in there.
We’ve been using it for more than a year, and it’s amazing. It never seems to get filled up. It’s always working.
I took a couple of wheelbarrow loads out in February, when I was top dressing, and I was really pleased with what I got. It was rich and black and not stinky.

jason, wildwood, b.c.


We get a lot of bears, six or seven last year, because there are hazelnut trees in the yard.
We use the composter all the time, and we put everything in it. Then we cover whatever we put in with dirt, to help it out.
I love that you can put such a wide range of foodstuffs in it, and the critters don’t get at it.

diana woods, powell river


I have a large garden and a lot of composters. This one is not only safe for kitchen wastes, it produces the best compost of all. I think it’s because the stone keeps it at a steady temperature, and in hot weather, it doesn’t dry out around the edges like a plastic bin.

jan lovewell, lund, b.c.


We had a terrible problem with bears and raccoons, with multiple incidents of bears tearing the garbage apart even though we washed out anything that could possibly smell of food.
We didn’t dare compost, even fruit and vegetable wastes.
Now we compost almost everything.
I’ve turned it once with an aerator. The compost is great, and there’s plenty of capacity.