How to Build a Turning Compost Bin


A turning compost bin is an efficient way to reuse kitchen and yard scraps to nurture your garden soil. It also reduces the amount of waste from your house that takes up unnecessary space in landfills. This environmentally friendly method has gained popularity recently, with more homeowners building simple compost tumblers in their backyards. A turning compost bin provides a fast way to decompose scrap, eliminating the need to shovel it.

Step 1

Select a shaded area to place your compost bin. It should be not next to your house, but placing it too far away will prevent easy access during colder months.

Step 2

Purchase a large plastic barrel or drum that holds no less than 30 gallons.

Step 3

Cut an opening in the center of the bin with a pointed knife, and extend it down to make a 12-inch-long straight line through the drum.

Step 4

Extend the cut from both its top and bottom points to make two horizontal 12-inch cuts.

Step 5

Push your hand through the lid to release the cut flap and fold it backwards and forwards to create a hinge. This will serve as the door to pile compost into your barrel instead of using the lid.

Step 6

Measure down 6 inches from the top of the vertical cut and mark the center. Punch a ½-inch hole there with a sharp knife. Mark another spot adjacent to the hole you just made in the body of the barrel. Make sure they are aligned.

Step 7

String a piece of leather cord through both the holes and tie a knot.

Step 8

Use a bungee cord to tie a tight knot around the lid of the barrel to prevent it from opening as you turn it.

Step 9

Drill ½-inch holes spaced about 4 inches apart throughout the body of the barrel to aerate the compost and provide the necessary moisture needed to speed the decaying process.

Step 10

Set bricks or cinder blocks on the ground in a rectangle. Lay the bin between them and position the bricks around it tightly enough to allow a snug fit.

Step 11

Untie the knot and fill the bin with alternate layers of green and brown scrap. Greens should include grass and leaf clippings, food scraps and manure, while browns should include coffee filters, stems and branches, paper bags, eggshells, ash and scrap wood pieces. Wet the contents to a moist consistency, and tie the knot again.

Step 12

Place the bin between the blocks. Remove the blocks from the front of the bin. Push the bin through five complete rotations in a straight line in the garden. When done, rotate it back and replace the blocks in the front.

Things You'll Need

  • 30-gallon plastic barrel
  • Sharp pointed knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Leather cord
  • Bungee cord
  • Drilling machine
  • Bricks or cinder blocks
  • Kitchen and garden waste


  • How to Compost
Keywords: compost bin, turning compost bin, rotating compost bin

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.