Friday, June 15, 2012

DIY Done in 10: Basic Compost Bin

As we've embarked on this whole eat more fruits and veggies thing, we've been generating a LOT of green waste-- peels, tops, stems, cores, wilted leaves and the like. Our city waste management company is reasonably modern and provides a free waste can for yard & green scraps. The company then composts this and either uses it on city property or sells it.

It seems to me that it's kind of silly to keep dumping things into the green bin and then turn around and head to the fix-it store to get a big bag of compost or mulch. So, I'm cutting them off! Its my scraps and I'm gonna keep them! So there.

For this project, I was inspired by this post on pinterest.  I also found this list on compostable items very helpful as well!


  • 1 very large rubbermaid (or like) tote with tight fitting lid (I used a 30 gal.)
  • 1 drill w/ a 1/2 inch bit
  • shredded newspaper or dry leaves
  • soil (1-2 cubic feet-- I started with 1.5 but may add more as needed to mix w/scraps)
  • scrap bucket for the kitchen (with tight fitting lid if you aren't gonna dump daily)


1. Drill 15 or so holes in the top AND bottom of your tote:

2. Fill bottom of tote with a good few inches of dry leaves or shredded newspaper

3. Add a layer of soil (to approx 1/3 to 1/2 of total depth)

4. Moisten w/garden hose

5. Add compostables, stir, place cover and wait!!

6. Repeat step 4 & 5 as needed to keep soil moist (but not wet or swampy!!)

7. Keep compost bin in shady corner of yard.


Project Analysis:(Out of 4)

Cost: $$$$     Satisfaction: :):):)    Quality: ***       Green Factor: ^^^^

Total cost of materials (tote, soil, scrap bucket for kitchen) was about $15 a similar volume premade one had $99 as its lowest price. So big savings!! An easy 10 minute project that saves over $80 is always a winner, plus I get to reap the "rewards" of our increased green waste. And, I'll get the satisfaction of knowing exactly what went into the compost that will (eventually) be used on our edibles in the garden.

Have you ever made your own compost bin this way? Comment below and let me know how your project turned out!

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