Introduction: DIY Compost Recycling Bin

About: I'm a student product designer and tinkerer who loves to create. My focus is on designing things that can be both fun and accessible.

I wanted a compost bin but there were no cheap options in my area so I decided to make my own. I have been using it for about a month now and found that adding some soil to the mix helps with the breakdown process. The soil had the added bonus of having some worms so now I have them in there bringing some composting muscle to the process.

Purchase a plastic bin with a lid that can be secured. Mine cost around $20.

Why a secure lid?

You're going to need to shake the bin to mix the compost up around once a week. Having a secure lid means you can roll it along the ground when it gets heavy or if you don't like compost juice dripping on your feet!

The lid also means the neighbors dog (pictured below) can't get in.


1 Bin with a lid that can be secured

Drill and drill bit

Garden waste such as dried leaves, grass clippings and wood chips

Kitchen waste

Newspaper (optional)

Rocks or bricks for the bin to stand on

Gardening gloves

Step 1: Drill Holes

  1. If you're an artist now is your time to shine, decorate your bin before you drill the holes.
  2. Using the biggest drill bit you have, drill holes in the base of the bin. If you have a small drill bit, drill more holes.
  3. Drill holes in the side of the bin. You can choose to add more or less than I did.

Why so many holes?

They help aerate the compost. To help the compost cook, you need a mix of heat, moisture, and oxygen in your bin so that bacteria and microorganisms can do their job.

Step 2: Add the Compost

So you don't end up with a smelly gooey mess you need a mix of brown fibrous material (garden waste) and greens (kitchen scraps).

  • Add a base of garden waste.

For example leaves, dried grass clippings, fallen branches (broken up into smaller pieces), wood chips, shredded paper.

  • Add kitchen waste.
  • Add soil if you have some.

Step 3: Shake Shake Shake

Hooray your compost bin is ready!!

  • Give yourself a pat on the back, you just saved $$, rubbish from landfill and started making your garden the plant equivalent of superfoods.
  • Give your bin a big shake to get everything to mix together.

Step 4: Lift Off

Put your compost on either some bricks or rocks so the air can get underneath it.

Step 5: Composting Tips

Compost waste dos and don'ts

Do add: vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, leftovers, loose leaf tea, bread, tomato sauce, pasta, stale cereal, cut up cardboard egg cartons, dairy such as yogurt (in small amounts), pencil shavings, shredded paper, farm animal manure, hay, cold fireplace ash.

Don't add: Meat, fish, kitchen fats, citrus peel (kills your helpful worms), tea bags (most aren't 100% organic), disposable coffeecups, glossy paper, coal and charcoal-briquet ash, dog or cat poo, anything non-organic, anything with chemicals on or in.

Other tips:

  • keep your compost in the shade if you live in a hot climate.
  • shake or tumble your compost about once a week to mix everything through.
  • add a mix of waste. If your bin is getting smelly you need to add more dry brown waste such as dried leaves.
  • be patient.
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