How to build a kitchen compost storage container that keeps flies out

Picture of How to build a kitchen compost storage container that keeps flies out
One inconvenience about composting is that its generally a good idea to keep the compost bin away from the house. This keeps away potential vermin, flies and smells. The downside to keeping the compost bin out back is that it would require multiple daily trips to it without the use of an intermediate compost storage bin.

Since the storage bin would ideally be located in the kitchen where the scraps are being produced it should be small enough to remain hidden and out of the way. However, the bin should also be big enough to hold about 5 days worth of scraps. Ideally the scraps also get oxygen to keep away smells produced from Anaerobic bacteria.

Finally, any storage bin should keep out those pesky little fruit flies which somehow always manage to find their way into your house no matter what you do!

(This instructable originally found from material on my blog
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Step 1: Get Supplies

In the interest of cheapness I built mine as frugally as possible from materials gathered at Home Depot. I might have tried to scrounge up recycled materials but it wouldnt have really been worh the time.

- 2 Gallon Plastic Paint bucket with removable lid  $3
- 1 large 3M scrubbing pad  $1
- Some glue (liquid nails will work)

Step 2: Prepare for drilling.

- Flip the lid to the bucket over so that the inside of the lid is facing up.
- Cut the brillo pad so that it fits on the inside of the lid and wont interfere with the closing. Right in the center is fine.
- Flip the lid back over and mark where the scrubbing pad will go

Step 3: Drill holes.

Picture of Drill holes.
- Drill a few rows (I used 3) of 3/83 (or similar sized) holes where the scrubbing pad will be placed.

Step 4: Glue the brillo pad

Picture of Glue the brillo pad
- Lay a ring of glue on the outside of the scrubbing pad
- Place scrubbing pad on the underside of the lid making sure to cover all of the holes.

Step 5: Put it into action!

Picture of Put it into action!
Now all you have to do is put the kitchen compost holder into action somewhere (we put ours beneath our sink).

Fill it up and empty her into the main compost bin!
RoBear61311 months ago

"those pesky little fruit flies which somehow always manage to find their way into your house"

These actually enter as eggs in the skins of bananas. I've read that if you freeze the skins (after peeling, of course), it kills the flies before they mature.

nwmshp2 years ago
Rather than a brillo pad could you use a piece of cloth, perhaps from an old dishcloth or recycled sweater/t-shirt?
Fieona2 years ago
Making compost is often considered to be complex but all you need to do is provide the right ingredients and compost container and let nature do the rest.
MARCELA19674 years ago
thanks for sharing i'll make mine soon!!! that's a great idea!!!!
hunnynspice4 years ago
Thats great...!!
i never thought to put a brillo pad in to keep the critters out...that has always been my excuse to not keep one in the house...we get enough of those nasty bugs coming in with the screen door slamming open/shut all summer and such without building the nasty little buggers a nice house to live in...LOL
Thanx for the great idea!! :}
reithj5 years ago
Exactly something I was looking for. But why the holes?
munkey906 (author)  reithj5 years ago
Compost is an aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) decomposition of organic matter. Good compost doesn't smell because the bacteria breaking down the food use oxygen and produce CO2 as a by product. Anaerobic bacteria tend to produce methane and other "natural gas" smelling compounds... which is why landfills smell bad and forests (which decompose massive amounts of organic material) smell good. The holes, provide a way for oxygen to get to the food scraps and keep it from smelling bad by promoting the growth of aerobic bacteria. Though, I'm not sure that it would help in the case of rotting milk :-)
Wonderful explanation. Thank you!
rhaubejoi4 years ago
This is a great idea!  Thanks for sharing!
Are worms added to the bin? they seem to be useful in the composting of most kitchen waste. I'll have to try this using a cat litter bucket with the hinging lid:) I've always kept my worm bin outside (in the furnace shed during winter) dure to the flies and pests. Now I can bring my little buddies in to thaw out :))
nibbler135 years ago
Great Idea, We keep our compost in the fridge here in Mexico until the bin fills-- It is the only I've found-- I'll try this!
munkey906 (author)  nibbler135 years ago
I was thinking about your compost in the refrigerator... and it occured to me that another way to keep down smells (if they are a problem) is to throw orange peels into the bucket. Orange peels and coffee grounds... both will absorb the smell nicely.
lemonie5 years ago
This is temporary storage then, not more than a week? I like the simplicity of this, the scouring pad is a useful filter (I have used myself for things).


(Brillo is a registered trade mark of SC Johnson & Son Inc, and applied to steel-wool scourers)
munkey906 (author)  lemonie5 years ago
yeah... just a temporary storage. Basically you want to empty this out every week or so into your main compost or worm bin.