How to Make a Compost Bin From a Rubber Container


Expensive composting bins are not the most "green" way to lower your carbon footprint on the earth. By recycling old rubber containers such as trash cans with lids, you can create an affordable and earth-friendly way to create compost for your garden out of your yard and kitchen scraps. Compost is a natural, nutrient-rich way to improve the soil of your garden without chemical fertilizers. By keeping compost ingredients such as leaves, disease-free, weed-free plant matter, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds, shredded newsprint and other material, you're also reducing the amount of landfill waste you produce.

Step 1

Drill holes about 6 inches apart evenly around the perimeter of the trash can from top to bottom. Air is an essential ingredient in composting, so it is vital air passes through the can. Drill two holes in the bottom of the can to help with drainage. Effective composting needs to be moist but should not be soaking wet.

Step 2

Place your can on two bricks or concrete blocks to lift it off the ground and provide room to place a pan underneath to catch the run-off, known as "compost tea," an excellent fertilizer for container plants as well as your garden. Place your bin away from your home to cut down on the smell and keep any possible nosy animals away.

Step 3

Add compost ingredients, mixing brown matter like leaves, twigs, shredded newspaper and grass clippings with green matter--vegetable and fruit scraps, disease-free green plant material, eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags. Water slightly. Layering ingredients such as instructed in stationary composters are not as necessary because the portability of your bin means you can mix it regularly.

Step 4

Add red wiggler worms, if desired. You can buy red wigglers online or through full-service garden centers. They are a good addition for container compost bins. The worms quickly eat the matter, producing a vermicompost (worm poop) that is highly nutritious for your garden. Garden bins or piles sitting on the ground will attract worms through the ground, but you will need to add worms to stand-alone bins. Your composter will work without the worms, but they speed the process up.

Step 5

Use an elastic cord to secure the lid to keep out pests such as raccoons.

Step 6

Roll the can periodically to mix the ingredients. With the bungee cords firmly in place, lay the can on its side and roll it around. Place the bin back on the risers after you have mixed it. Your compost should be ready in a little over a month.

Tips and Warnings

  • Insects are important to the decomposition process. Never use insecticide on compost. If you are concerned with the eggs of pests such as slugs, the heat from your compost should kill them off. Keep pet waste and waste from meat-eating animals out of the composter. Never add meat and bread scraps as they can attract pests and cause a foul odor.

Things You'll Need

  • Large trash can with lid
  • Drill
  • Bricks or concrete blocks
  • Worms
  • Elastic cord
  • Compost ingredients


  • University of Missouri Extension: How to Build a Compost Bin
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Garden Compost
  • University of Kentucky Extension: Constructing a Garbage Can Compost Bin

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Composting
Keywords: compost trash can, DIY composter, make compost tumbler

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.