Introduction: DIY Composter From Up-Cycled Olive Barrel

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Hi folks, I’m Mac from BGH and I’m going to show you how to build
your own enclosed composter. I didn’t originally intend to document the build, because I was building it on-the-fly. So, you’ll have to read between some lines.

My inspiration is all about spreading word on how we all can reduce our environmental impact and save money while doing it.

I have multiple compost batches including an open pile, but I’m making this one because it can be placed anywhere outside without attracting insects and critters.

I’m using an upcycled, polyethylene olive barrel. The same type that I use for my rain collection system. Ideally, you’ll chose one with a removable lid. You’ll have a lot more work if you build a lid or cover on your own.

Here’s what you’ll need if you just want a barrel without a stand

and what you’ll need for one with a stand like mine.

Be sure your barrel is food grade and hasn’t stored anything nasty
or harmful to humans or critters. You’ll also want to make sure it’s heavy walled to support the weight you’re going to put into it.

This one is 58 gallons or 220 liters, which could weigh as much as 240lbs when half full.

I’ve decided to make a composter with a stand, so that it easily rotates. You could skip this step and just roll it on the ground to mix and aerate your recipe. Of course, in that case it won’t drain as well when sitting on the ground.

Without Stand


Electric drill

Flexible measuring tape


3/16” drill bit for aeration holes


1 each barrel

Masking tape


(*) Length can vary depending on your barrel dimensions

(**) I used what I already had, but this is what I would have bought

The "Supplies" section includes what you'll need for the stand.



Electric drill

Hack saw with metal blade

Wood saw

Flexible measuring tape


2” Hole cutting saw blade

1/8” drill bit for pilot holes

3/16” for aeration holes

3/8” drill bit

Wood clamps (optional)


1 each barrel

2” x ? Pipe galvanized pipe (*) (**)

1” x ? angle iron (*)

2” x 4” x ? lumber. Treated for weather. (*)

2” x 6” x ? lumber. Treated for weather. (*)

14 each 3/8” x 3” galvanized hex bolts (**)

14 each 3/8” galvanized nuts (**)

14 each 3/8” galvanized flat washers (**)

14 each 3/8” galvanized lock washers (**)

8 each 3” wood screws

2 each 4” wood screws

Masking tape

Step 1:


If you’re not concerned about the appearance of your composter start drilling holes and be done with it. After all, the important parts are recycling compostable food and plant matter and making great fertilizer for your plants.

If you haven’t composted, I assure you that it’s simple. Still, the more you know the better the compost.

Be sure to do some homework on what you should NOT put in your composter. Be certain to NOT put any type of proteins like meat or dairy in your composter.

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