Making a Compost Bin out of a Garbage Can

What You'll Need
Garbage Can
Drill Bits
Compost Material
Garden hose

One of the easiest ways to make a compost bin is out of a garbage can. It allows you to use materials that would otherwise be thrown away in a more constructive way, thus improving your lawn and garden. The process gives users a high quality of soil as well as reducing their impact on the planet.

And since compost is a form of recycling, a recycled garbage can would be the perfect recepticle for the job!


Step 1:  Preparing the Garbage Can 

Get an old garbage can or buy a new one for this project. If using an old garbage can, clean out the inside with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. 

Remove any rust on a metal can. Metal garbage bins can be treated with a sealant that will keep them from rusting. Since water will be added to the composting material this is a good preventive measure for metal cans.


Step 2: Create Ventilation 

Drill several small holes in the garbage can. Put the holes on all sides and the bottom of the container. Aeration is the key to creating good compost so it is important to drill small holes in the garbage can so that the compostable material can get lots of oxygen. Most importantly, the air holes will decrease the time it takes to create compost. 


 Step 3:  Placing the Can

Place the garbage can on blocks or wood slabs so that the garbage can will get oxygen from all sides including the bottom. Also, the blocks will allow any excess moisture to drain so that the can is less likely to rust. 


Step 4:  Add Compostable Material 

Add compostable materials to the can. This should include grass trimmings, plant remains, dead leaves and even newspaper. The compostable material should be a mixture of both green materials and brown materials. 

Step 5: Moisten compostable material 

Spray water into the garbage can allowing it to moisten the material. Get the material wet but not saturated. The material should feel like a rinsed dish rag. This will help to accelaerate the process of decomposition.


Step 6: Cover and Turn 

Put the lid on the garbage can. After leaving the material for a day or two, go back and turn it. Turning the material can be accomplished by using a pitch fork or broom handle and mixing the contents.

Another option is placing the garbage can on its side and pushing it around the yard mixing the contents. Either way, the compostable material needs to be turned at least weekly if not daily. 


Step 7: Restock 

Place more material in the can as often as needed. Always try to maintain a fairly even ratio of green waste and brown waste. When adding material, make sure that the contents within the container remain moist. Add water as necessary. 


Step 8: Use the Compost 

Within 1 to 2 months, the contents of the garbage can should have turned into compost. At this point, take it out of the can and use it wherever needed.