Introduction: Make a Compost Bin From a Wheelie Bin
Our council runs a green waste collection, for which they provide each household with a green recycling bin. This bin is for garden waste, you cannot put any other compostable waste in it.
Also when this garden waste is taken away, and your cospostable food waste has gone to landfill, none of the nutrients get put back into your garden.
That got me to thinking that I would much rather compost all my garden and compostable household waste and make use of it back into my garden.
So all I needed was a suitable container for composting in. I could have bought an actual compost bin, or made one out of wood, but then I would still have a green wheelie bin, only now there would be nothing in it.
Solution - Turn Green Wheelie Bin into COMPOST BIN
1) cut a flap on the front to allow access to compost
2) add a tap at the bottom to allow for collection of liquid plant food from the compost heap
Step 1: What You Need
A quick trip to your local hardware store/ garden centre should get you everything you'll need at a price which is much cheaper than a compost bin.
1)Obviously a wheelie bin, if you don't have one you can buy them , but you may be better off getting an actual compost bin. However councils may be able to sort you out with one which has been damaged, i.e. the wheels have come off or similar.
2) A couple of concrete blocks to set your finished bin on. (�6)
3) Hinges (I used stainless steel to avoid rusting, but this makes them more expensive) (�4)
4) Machine screws to fit hinges and barrel bolt. (�3) I chose to use nuts and bolts because the plastic of the wheelie bin is quite soft and i was concerned about screws not threading properly
5) A water butt tap (�3)
6) A bag of gravel 10 to 20mm (�2)
Step 2: Drill a Hole for the Tap
The bottom of my wheelile bin has a plastic grate for some reason, however this allows us to put gravel in the bottom which will create a sump for collecting the liquid which drains off the compost.
To get at this wonderful plant food you need to install a tap.
Mark and drill a hole for the water butt tap. Put it in a sensible place as close to the bottom of the wheelie bin as possible.
Don't worry about trying to install it just yet, unless you fancy climbing inside and have a friend to help you on the outside.
I put mine on the front right hand side, which when the finished bin is set on the concrete blocks allows you to get a container under the tap to drain off your liquid food.
Step 3: Compost Removal Flap
On my wheellie bin the plastic grate at the bottom is hinged and i'm guessing it isn't water tight above the point where the hinge is on the outside.
I used a piece of string and a spirit level to figure out where the hinge level is on the front of the bin. If you are using a different style of bin which is water tight all the way then you can put the flap wherever you want. I chose to put mine just above the plastic grate as any higher than that and any excess leachate from your compost will leak away anyway.
Mark out where you want your flap to be and cut out with a jigsaw. I drilled some holes in the corners to get the jigsaw blade in.
Step 4: Flap Attachment
Now line up your hinges and mark on the flap where they are to attach, do the same with the barrel part of the barrel bolt.
Drill the holes and bolt the hinges and barrel bolt to the flap.
If your bin is not flat on the front you may run into problems when you try to open the flap once it is fully attached. I had to cut out a wedge from each side. If that is going to be the case for yours, now is a good time to trim it down with the jigsaw (see photos).
Mark on the body of the bin where the hinges will sit by placing the flap back into place.
Drill and bolt the hinges to the body of the bin.
Mark where the barrel bolt keeper will sit and drill and bolt that into place.
Step 5: Aeration Holes
To encourage airflow through the compost bin and avoid smelly anaerobic bacteria being dominant drill a load of holes in the side and back of the bin,mark them out and drill them out neatly to keep it looking nice.
Once the holes are drilled now is a good time to reach through the flap and screw the back nut of the tap into place
Step 6: Finished
All you need to do now is set the bin on the blocks and fill the bottom with gravel and start filling it with your biodegradable waste.
Drain off the liquid and dilute it in your watering can (hosepipes are bad) and you have a great feed for your plants.
And depending what you are composting you should have a nice compost within 6 to 8 months. After there is a bit of compost in there start adding a few worms, they will help speed up the composting process and they help to keep the heap aerated.
This took me around 2 hours but i wasn't exactly rushing. And it cost about £18 but i could have done it a lot cheaper, by finding free stuff to put the bin on, finding old bits and barrel bolts and using gravel from the garden or from the beach.
A proprietary compost bin of this size would easily cost £30-£40.