Secondary Garbage Bin - for Those Who Do Compost




Intro: Secondary Garbage Bin - for Those Who Do Compost

I started composting last year and I wish to compost everything I can from the kitchen. However, I do not want to walk the composter many times a day and decided I needed a second garbage bin to collect green stuff that's ready for composting.

Here are the characteristics I was looking for:
- Small - not only by lack of room but to make sure I'd be forced to take it outside regurlarly.
- Hidden - fits under the counter, close to the "real" garbage bin.
- Portable - can be moved, either to have it on the counter when cooking and having lots of veggie skins or other compostable waste, or to go pour it's content in the "real" composter outside.
- Closed - a lid is a must.

I came up with this simple solution, made out of a plastic box and a few other components.

I made that I while ago so do not have pictures for all intermediate steps, but they are very simple.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

The parts you will need are:

- Plastic box with lid (1). Chose the size that will fit where you want to put it. You can find in many stores. I got mine at Canadian Tire but you'll also find similar ones at Wal-Mart and the likes.
- Plastic ties (2).
- Metal hooks (4).

The needed tools are:

- Drill with bits
- Pen or marker

Step 2: Prepare Your Box

The first step is to attach the lid to the box. Drill holes in both the box and lid, and use the plastic ties to create hinges. See the first picture for details.

The second step is also to drill holes, this time on the side of the box and lid. Make four evenly spaced holes. These have to be big enough to allow the hooks to go through them easily, but not too big (you don't want to make your box to weak).

Finaly, remove the plastic between the holes and the border of the lid only. This will also you to open the lid without taking the bin off the hooks. See the second picture for details.

Step 3: Prepare Your Cabinet Door

The next step is easy. Mark four spots on the door, where you want the box to be suspended, drill holes and screw the hooks there. You should obtain something similar to what's in the picture.

Step 4: You're Done!

Suspend the box on the hooks, like on the picture. You're done! :)

Put the occasional banana skin in there by just lifting the lid. Take the whole box on the counter when making a huge autumn veggetable soup or peeling potatoes!



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    13 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Seems a little over thought. Coulda bought a 12qt stock pot for less than the materials and looks like it would still be under your sink next to your garbage (for easy decision on what to toss).


    8 years ago on Introduction

    An added bonus of freezing your compost first is that it will then rot faster!  When water freezes, it expands and fractures the cell walls of the plant material.  This speeds up the decomposition quite a bit, especially if you are vermicomposting.  One word of caution though - when it defrosts it will be extra juicy!

    This is also a nice way to get extra juice out of fruit if you're making jelly, wine, or beer. 

    I use and old plastic Folgers coffee container. I keep it in my fridge (we have these nasty little gnats here in Florida that love this kind of stuff.) Keeping it in the fridge keeps it less stinky and less buggy. I just pull it out when I am cutting/cooking/throwing away anything compostable. Then I only have to take it out to the compost pile in the yard when it gets full.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    In the freezer! Of course. What a dunderhead I've been all these years. I use a five pound cottage cheese container from the 'Big' store and set it on the counter with lid tightly on. But when you open it to put new stuff in -- whew. Especially in summer. I put other things in my freezer that most people don't, why not compostable material. I love this website.

    I Rationell bins from Ikea that I've been using for years for compostables under my sink. I rigged some drawer rails under the bin holder so I could slide the bins out to dump compostables. You have to have a tight fitting lid to prevent smells from coming out of the bins. Fruit flies are sometimes a problem. I empty it about once a week into my compost pile.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I keep a little plastic box in my freezer to put kitchen scraps into. After a week when it's full, I dump it out into the compost...


    9 years ago on Introduction

    What a clever guy you are! I took the liberty of printing this off and passing it along to my son and to some of my Master Gardener friends, who have some issues with this type of thing. And of course I gave you credit. I've slyly added to DH's honey-do list, grin. Right now, I'm feeding 2 bins plus 3 boksahi buckets so the scraps do last long. Thanks for sharing your great idea!

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    You can make a simple aerobic composter out of a 5 gallon bucket and some composting worms. As long as you have plenty of air circulation your compost wont smell so you can keep it in the kitchen near your prep.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting, I might switch to that technique. Are compost worms just regular earth worms? Also, could you make this smaller, like 1-2 gallon? How do you manage to not lose the worms when emptying the bucket? Any other advice? You may want to answer with an Instructable to those questions... ;-)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Regular earthworms do not do very well in an indoor composting system. The ones I use are called red wrigglers. They are slightly smaller than a regular earth worm but can eat up to their own body weight daily under optimal conditions. So a pound of worms can eat a pound of scraps. I suppose you could go as small as you wanted with their container as long as it's not deep and has plenty of circulation. There is a ton of info available on the web to answer your questions. Just google worm farm or vermiculture.


    Keep the compost in the freezer so it doesn't smell. I use a couple of quart yoghurt containers without lids. When I cook I put them on the counter, and when I'm done I put them back in the freezer. Neat & tidy, and it thaws out and composts just fine when I empty them on the compost pile every few days.

    1 reply

    Great idea. Smell is an issue when you forget to take this out of the house frequently, eg. if you don't do it when leaving for a long week-end. Thanks for the idea!