Introduction: How to Make a Compost Bin (DIY)

As a young adult, it might seem too costly or too much work to take even the smallest steps to be friendly to our planet. There are small simple steps we can take that will not only make a great impact but are also easy and inexpensive. Imagine a world where we are all taking part in these activities and creating a better, healthier future for ourselves and our future generations. Today I would like to demonstrate one of the many options out there. When we think of composting, a person probably thinks they have to go out and buy a special container or maybe pay an extra fee for doing it. The fact is none of this is necessary and composting can be one of the easiest and most convenient things you do for your home (your lawn or garden) and our home planet. Composting is more than just free fertilizer for the garden. It’s a sustainability strategy for reducing waste and preventing air pollution. Sending organic matter to our landfills to decompose without oxygen creates greenhouse gases, which we all know causes climate change.

We are a family of six and we tend to use up quite a bit of pretty much everything. Which is why we are always looking for even the simplest things to take part in making us a smaller footprint family. Not to mention the uses we find for compost, which saves us money in the long run. There are lots of options when it comes to composting but when we found a super easy and cheap way to make our own backyard bin, we wasted no time getting to work. This project will require a recycled or bought plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid about 24 inches tall or taller, a drill, dry leaves or newspaper, dirt, a shovel or stick to stir, and water.

Step 1:

The first thing to do is figure out whether a new bin is needed or if there is one laying around the house that can be recycled for your compost bin. If a new one is needed, they can be found for as little as $7. Make sure the bin comes with a tight-fitting lid.

Step 2:

Next, use a drill to make 8 – 10 small holes in the bottom of the container for aeration purposes. The lid for the bin will also need 8-10 holes, so go ahead and drill those as long as the drill is out.

Step 3:

Once done with the drill, the bin will be filled. Place some shredded newspaper or dry leaves on the bottom of your compost bin, filling it about 1/8 – 1/4 full. We went with newspaper. After that is done place dirt on top of the leaves or newspaper until the container is 1/2 full.

Step 4:

Now place any food scraps or paper products that you’d like to compost. Surprisingly, things like lint and eggshells are compost friendly, while lime (too acidic) and dog “waste” (could carry disease) are off-limits. It is important to know what can and can’t be composted. For a full list of items that are good for composting, check out the following link:

Step 5:

Next, give compost a little stir with a shovel or stick, making sure to cover food scraps with dirt. Spray with lukewarm water until moist, but not soaking wet. (Note: too much water can be to blame if compost starts to smell). Place lid securely on top of the bin and put in a shady area away from the house. Be sure that it’s not in full sun or compost will dry out.

Step 6:

Now that the compost bin is set up, we can just add food scraps, making sure to give things a stir each time (mixing the compost helps break everything down faster). To aid in the collection of stuff to compost, just add a separate container under the sink with only compost friendly items. We have a small one under our sink.