INTRODUCTION: Our city recently introduced a new program for composting food scraps. To save trips outside to the large curbside compost container, the city distributed small bins with hinged lids to be placed in the kitchen. Many residents have noted that even this small bin takes up considerable counter space, and that it is often difficult to hold the lid open while emptying the scraps. We have solved both of these problems by placing the bin behind a door under the sink, and devising an automatic, low-tech, lid-opening mechanism.
Step 1: EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
1. Hand drill and bit for installing the eye hooks (below)
2. Pliers or small screwdriver may also be needed to install the eye hooks
3. (Optional as needed) hammer, saw hot glue, and nails may be needed (see below)
1. Small compost bin with lid
2. 2 small eye hooks
3. Piece of string about 2-3 feet long
5. (Optional as needed) may need a piece of scrap wood ~0.75" (2 cm) x ~1.5" (4 cm) x ~10-12" (25-30 cm); hot glue, small angle iron, and screws
Step 2: EVALUATING THE PROPOSED LOCATION
First evaluate the proposed location to be sure it is suitable for this mechanism. The bin needs to sit next to the hinge side of the opening for the door. There needs to be room over the bin for the lid to open fully. There should be no obstacles that would interfere with the lid closing easily and completely.
Step 3: PLACING THE TOP EYE HOOK
The top eye hook should be located as close as possible directly over where the front center of the lid will be when it is fully opened. If the installation is under the sink, this may require placing a the piece of scrap wood in position to receive the eye hook. It may take some minor engineering to attach it--I sized the wood scrap to fit between the disposal and the front of the cabinet and hot-glued it place at both ends. I added an angle iron after I had completed the full installation and was satisfied with the position and overall operation.
Step 4: ATTACH CARABINER, STRING, AND THE SECOND EYE HOOK
Attach the carabiner to the bin lid and tie the string to it. The use of the carabiner allows for easy detachment of the bin from the mechanism for emptying or cleaning. Thread the string through the upper eye hook and pull it until the lid opens fully. Check to be sure it opens fully and freely, and there are no obstructions.
Hold the free end of the string against the inside of the door while opening and closing the door to determine the optimal length of the string and the position for the second eye hook. The lid should be able to open fully and close completely. Install the second eye hook and tie the string to it. Re-position the bin and/or eye hooks as needed for smoother operation.
Your new lid lifter will now automatically open the lid when you open door and shut the lid when you close the door!