How to Build a Compost Bin Out of a Plastic Trash Can


Compost bins come in almost any size, shape and style. If you want to make your own compost bin, only your imagination will limit your finished result. If your goal is to create a compost bin as simply and economically as possible, consider building a compost bin out of a plastic trashcan. With only minimal materials, tools and time you can construct a quality compost bin quickly and easily that will serve your gardening needs for years.

Step 1

Turn the trashcan onto its side so you have access to the bottom of the trashcan. Plan where you will drill at least four to five holes in the bottom of the trashcan for drainage. Space the holes evenly along the surface of the trashcan.

Step 2

Drill the holes in the bottom of the trashcan with the drill.

Step 3

Select a place for your trashcan compost bin. The location of your compost bin should be convenient to your planting areas and near your outside hose for easy water access when you are making compost.

Step 4

Dig a 6-inch-deep hole in the location you will be placing your compost bin. Make the hole the same diameter of the bottom of the trashcan so that the trashcan will fit perfectly into the hole. This will prevent the trashcan from tipping over accidentally and scavenging animals from knocking it over.

Step 5

Place the trashcan into the prepared hole.

Step 6

Add the compost ingredients to the trashcan and use it as you would use any compost bin. Keep the trashcan tightly covered with the lid while the compost forms.

Things You'll Need

  • 33-gallon trashcan (with tight-fitting lid)
  • Drill with ½-inch drill bit
  • Shovel


  • Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works: Composting FAQs
Keywords: compost bins, make your own compost bin, building a compost bin out of a plastic trashcan

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributer to Natural News. She is an avid gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and computer user. She is interested in natural health and hopes to direct her focus toward earning an RN degree.