How to Create a Compost Container


Composting in a homemade compost container is almost as easy as composting in a loose heap, once you make the container. It also has the advantage of looking better in your yard, and keeping pests and odors contained. The absolute easiest method is to use a plastic or metal container like a garbage can, and alter it for your composting purposes.

Step 1

Find a large garbage can, barrel or other container that will hold a good amount of compost. It is essential that you choose one with a tight-fitting lid to keep pests out and odors in.

Step 2

Mark locations to aerate the container with chalk. Mark plenty of holes on the bottom of the container, for both air circulation and good drainage of the compost. Also mark holes on the sides of the container near the bottom, about 3/4 of the way down. As an estimate, there might be a dozen holes on the container bottom and 20 circling the container's outside.

Step 3

Drill small holes in the container on the marks. They should not be too large, preventing animals from getting at the compost. A finger's diameter will do at the most. A 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch drill bit would be ideal.

Step 4

Put down an appropriate surface to rest the container on. In muddy areas, gravel or a wooden pallet will aid drainage under the container. If you need to keep tree roots down underneath the area, place a loosely-spaced layer of bricks under the can.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check local ordinances on the proper location of your compost bin; some areas restrict their placement away from lot lines. Wear safety goggles and gloves when drilling holes in metal or plastic containers to avoid splinters or shavings in eyes or hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic or metal garbage can
  • Tight-fitting lid
  • Chalk
  • Drill
  • Small drill bit
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Gravel, bricks or wooden pallet


  • University of Missouri Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension
Keywords: make a compost container, how to make a compost can, starting a compost bin

About this Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.