My brother-in-law gave us the idea for this simple DIY compost bin in a trash can. Since we had just put our house on the market, and since the compost pile out back was less than desirable, this contained option seemed like a good solution.
The trash can keeps the compost contained and “neighbor friendly”. The black color of the can attracts heat and aeration is simple since we are able to turn the trash can on it’s side and give it a couple rolls.
You will need:
- Black trash can with locking lid
- Drill with 1″ bit
- 5 year old boy and chalk (both optional)
Mark delegated the responsibility for making the composting trash can to Colby (5), who did a fabulous job.
We used chalk to draw circles so Colby would know where the holes should go. We were random with the hole placement.
The holes provide ventilation that allows air flow and facilitates the decomposition process in addition to providing a space for “juices” to flow out.
There were helping hands available as needed,
but Colby soon got the hang of it.
and felt like a big man using a power tool and tackling a project “all by himself”.
Don’t forget to drill holes in the bottom of the can.
Slightly elevate your new composting trash can so that air can circulate underneath and it can drain. You may use whatever you have handy, we used rocks. We have tons of rocks in our yard.
How to use a composting trash can
To use the composting trash can, simply use the ratio of 4:1 brown (dead leaves, coffee filters, coffee/tea grounds, shredded paper, etc.) to green (fruit, veggies, grass clippings, etc.).
We keep a pile of leaves near the bin and add a handful of leaves whenever we add kitchen scraps.
- coffee grounds and tea leaves, filters and bags
- egg shells
- uncooked waste from fruits and veggies or overripe fruits and veggies
- grass clippings
- shredded newspaper
- sourdough starter waste/overflow
Do not add dairy or meat products to your compost. They may introduce unwanted bacteria and cause a stench.
Continue adding to your compost bin, agitating, by turning the can onto it’s side and rolling (be sure that the lid is on a locked) about once a week.
Once your trash/compost can is full, continue a weekly agitation. Your compost will be ready to use sometime between several weeks to several months. The time it takes will depend upon your compost’s composition and the weather conditions.Finished compost should look like nice black dirt.
At this point, you may wish strain the compost through a wire screen to eliminate particles that have not finished composting. These particles may be added to your next batch of compost.
We’ve found that it’s useful to have two composting bins to use in rotation. This gives us a place to put new compost while waiting for the first bin to finish composting.
Do you compost? What tips do you have to share?
Linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.