Trash Can Compost Bin

Trash Can Compost BinThis isn’t a new idea, but it’s a good one so I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s a small compost bin made from a rubber trash can.  It’s just the right size for small spaces; it has a lid to keep out the critters and it’s easy to maneuver around the garden.


Twist Bit and Hole Saw BitRubber Garbage Can with a Locking Lid (Choose a size that will provide you with enough compost, but still be manageable.  While at the store I noticed they had metal cans with holes.  This would be a great option as well.  Just make sure the lid locks.)
Drill with a 1/2-inch twist bit or a hole saw bit
Bricks or Concrete Blocks to Raise the Garbage Can Off the Ground
Yard Waste

Holes in Rubber Trash Can for Air CirculationDrill holes in the bottom and on the sides of the garbage can to provide plenty of air circulation.

Place the garbage can on bricks to raise it off the ground.  This allows air to circulate under the can and prevent the composting material from becoming stagnant.  Some gardeners prefer that the garbage can sit on the ground so earthworms can help with the composting.

Add uncooked vegetable scraps, dried leaves, grass clippings, and disease-free plant material.  It is helpful to chop the vegetables into small pieces so that they will break down quickly.

Good to Know: What’s that smell?

If your compost bins starts to smell, it’s not getting enough air. Simply turn the pile and add more brown material such as dried leaves.

Keep the compost moist and turn it every two weeks.  To turn, just put the garbage can on its side and roll it around.  Make sure the lid is locked in place.  A piece of rebar or a bulb auger attached to a drill are also useful tools for stirring up the compost.

Be mindful of how much you put into your compost bin.  You don’t want it to become too heavy to manage.  If space allows, I suggest you build 2 trash can composters so that you can allow one to compost while you fill the other.

What can you put in your composter?

  • Uncooked vegetables and fruits. Be sure to cut them up into small pieces so they will break down faster. This is helpful with a small compost bin.
  • Grass clippings.
  • Dried leaves.
  • Disease free plant material.
  • Shredded paper.
  • Avoid sticks and woody plant materials because they will not break down.