How to Build a Compost Bin on a Budget


Compost bins have countless benefits, particularly the eco-friendly nature of composting and the fact that you'll get natural fertilizer for free. Compost bins have evolved over the past few decades, and now more people are finding cheaper and simpler ways to create their own compost bins. Although the elaborate wooden compost structures are often attractive and have larger capacities for compost materials, they're not so practical if you don't have the space for them or cannot afford all the materials to build them. A plastic storage container, however, will give you the same quality of compost, but on a budget.

Step 1

Get an eight- to 10-gallon plastic storage bin with a tight-fitting lid. If you're going to keep worms in your compost bin, make sure the plastic container is dark, opaque and not transparent.

Step 2

Drill 20 small holes for drainage in the bottom of the bin using a 1/4-inch drill bit. Space the holes evenly. If you're using worms in the compost bin, drill ventilation holes through the sides of the bin near the top and through the lid. Use a 1/16-inch drill bit, drilling holes 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.

Step 3

Place your compost ingredients into the bin and seal the lid. When adding worms, first line the bottom with 3 to 4 inches of moist newspaper and a handful of dirt.

Step 4

Secure the lid tightly and keep the bin in a well-ventilated place, preferably outdoors in a shaded area that is protected from rain. You can keep this type of compost bin closer to your house because it has a tight-fitting lid and won't produce the strong odors that other types of compost bins create.

Step 5

Turn the compost material in the bin every few days. Keep compost materials moist but not wet. Add some dry dirt or sprinkle some water on your compost materials as needed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful when turning your compost if you are keeping worms in the bin. Bury food scraps in the newspaper and dirt for the worms to eat, which will prevent fruit flies.

Things You'll Need

  • 8- to 10-gallon plastic storage bin
  • Tight-fitting lid
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch and 1/16-inch drill bits
  • Worms (optional)
  • Moistened newspaper (optional)
  • Dirt


  • Cheap and Easy Worm Bin
  • The Cheap & Easy Way to Make Compost

Who Can Help

  • How to Build a Compost Bin
  • Compost Guide--The Compost Bin
Keywords: cheap compost bin, budget compost bin plans, easy composting

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.