How to Build a Rotating Compost Bin


Composting is an ideal way to get rid of garden waste and, at the same time, get free fertilizer for your garden soil. Any compost heap or bin will do the job, but a rotating compost bin will compost scraps quickly without easy access to rodents or neighborhood pets. Fill your bin about two-thirds full of yard waste, add a little water, and rotate daily.

Step 1

Find a food-grade 55-gallon drum. A beer keg would be ideal, but any barrel that didn't hold dangerous chemicals can be used. Outline about a 1-foot-square area on the center of the barrel side, Use your saw with the metal blade to cut this square out of the barrel. If there are any sharp edges, smooth them off with a file.

Step 2

Attach two strap hinges on the top of the hole in the barrel, and connect the piece that you removed to create a door in the side. Nail a couple of pieces of scrap wood to the inside of the barrel to prevent the door from falling into the interior of the barrel. Attach another small piece of wood to the outside of the door with nuts and a bolt, allowing it to rotate to be used as a latch.

Step 3

Construct two X-shaped stand ends, about three feet high. Connect the two X pieces with cross braces, creating a stand about 6 inches narrower than the barrel. Nail additional support bars at the bottom of each X, about 2 inches above the ground.

Step 4

Screw a flat piece of wood as a turning handle to the top and bottom of the barrel. Make each handle about 1 foot longer than the barrel end is wide, leaving a 6-inch overhang on each side. Prop the barrel onto the stand, fill with yard or kitchen vegetable waste, moisten with water, and fasten the lid closed. Turn each day, and you will have compost in a matter of weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • 55 gallon barrel, food grade
  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Saw with metal blade
  • Nails
  • Hinge


  • Build a rotating compost bin
Keywords: rotating compost bin, composting, yard waste

About this Author

Anne Baley is a writer and photographer living in Southeast Michigan. She has written numerous articles about places she has discovered while traveling throughout the United States. Baley's work has appeared in a variety of online outlets, including Endless Sunday.