How to Make a Compost Bin From a Trash Can

It's cheap, easy and quick

Filling the compost bin
Marcel ter Bekke / Getty Images

One of the best ways to save money painlessly is to repurpose something you already have or something new that is much cheaper than buying the finished product. A good case in point is a composter. Some composters cost more than $100, and you can make your own compost bin from a trash can in no time and save bunches of money, even if you have to buy a new trash can. Making a from a trash can is easy and can be done in about a half an hour or less.

What You Need

  • A plastic trash can with lid
  • A drill
  • A 1/2-inch wood bit
  • 3 bricks
  • A bungee cord

How to Make a Compost Bin

  1. Drill holes through the sides and bottom of a trash can to create ventilation.
  2. Place an even mix of brown and green materials inside the can. Brown materials include , twigs, wood chips, newspaper, and cardboard. Green materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, , and egg shells.
  3. Add a small amount of water to the can–just enough to moisten the materials. Then place the lid on the can, bungee cord it in place, and give it a quick roll around the yard to mix the contents.
  4. Position your can on top of a few bricks to ensure good airflow, and your compost bin is ready to go.


Roll your compost bin around the yard once a week to keep the contents mixed. Add a bit of water whenever your compost seems dry.