How to Make a Garbage Can Into a Composter


Seasoned gardeners know that there is often no need to purchase a manufactured compost bin. In fact, it is possible to compost material by just creating a large pile in your yard. Bin composting is far more common, however, and it can be accomplished with little expense. With just a few modifications, a large garbage can compost just as quickly and thoroughly as any compost bin purchased from a retailer.

Step 1

Wash the garbage can and lid with soap and water.

Step 2

Drill 30 evenly spaced holes at least 6 inches apart in the sides of the garbage can and approximately five holes in the bottom of the garbage can to help aerate the compost.

Step 3

Spread a 3-inch layer of wood chips over the bottom of the garbage can to help the compost pile drain.

Step 4

Add one to two handfuls of garden soil to introduce the microorganisms responsible for decomposing organic material.

Step 5

Place the lid on the garbage can composter and move it to a sunny spot in your yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Garbage can with lid
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Drill with 1/4 inch bit
  • Wood chips
  • Garden soil


  • Northern Alberta Permaculture Institute: Types of Compost Bins
  • Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc: Garbage-Can Composter
Keywords: garbage can composter, make composter, compost bin

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.