How to Make a Compost Bin for Leaves


Composting is a practical way to use kitchen scraps, leaves and old plants to make a rich, organic fertilizer for the garden. Compost bins can be purchased at most gardening centers, but they can be made by using a large plastic trash can with a fitted lid that can be snapped into place.

Step 1

Select a sturdy plastic trash can -- an outdoors, not kitchen type -- that has a lid that fits snugly and locks. The trash can must be big enough to add dry and wet ingredients, yet still allow you to turn it on its side.

Step 2

Turn the trash can upside down and drill holes all over the bottom of the can. Use a drill bit that is 1/2 to 1 inch; anything smaller would not allow for proper drainage. Space the holes 1 to 2 inches apart.

Step 3

Drill holes on all sides of the trash can. The lid does not need to have holes drilled into it. Space the holes 1 to 2 inches apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic trash can with fitted, locking lid, 18 gallons or larger
  • Drill
  • ½- to 1-inch drill bit


  • Burpee Complete Gardener; Barbara W. Ellis, Editor; 1995

Who Can Help

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Composting
Keywords: organic gardening, composting, compost bin

About this Author

Since 1995, H.B. Dean has written more than 2,000 articles for publications including “PB&J,” Disney’s “Family Fun,” “ParentLife,” Living With Teenagers,” and Thomas Nelson’s NYTimes Best-selling “Resolve.” After 17 years of homeschooling her five children, Dean discovered that motherhood doesn’t stop with an empty nest.