How to Make a Plastic Composting Bin


Composting when you have only a small space in your yard or can't have an obvious compost bin due to neighborhood rules may seem complicated. Discreet, small-space composting is still a possibility with a plastic compost bin. Place the bin in a corner of your yard or even in a garage or garden shed if necessary. This allows you to turn your fallen leaves and other yard waste into a rich soil amendment that benefits your garden beds and potted plants.

Step 1

Purchase a 55-gallon plastic garbage can with a fitted lid. Choose a garbage can made of heavy duty plastic and not a flimsy one for indoor use.

Step 2

Drill 10 1-inch holes in the bottom of the trash can, spacing them equally apart. Drill an additional three rows of 1-inch holes up the sides of the trash can, spacing each hole in the row 6 inches apart.

Step 3

Lay a large tray, such as a water heater drip tray, on the ground if placing the bin inside a garage. Set two landscaping bricks in the tray and place the compost bin on top of them. This allows excess moisture to drain from the bin without staining the cement floor.

Step 4

Place a 3-inch layer of wood chips or straw in the bottom of the bin to add additional drainage. Fill the bin two-thirds full of dead leaves and one-third full with fresh grass clippings and green plant matter. Add a shovel full of finished compost or a compost starter to the bin.

Step 5

Water the bin with a watering can until it is just moist. Squeeze a handful of the compost---if it feels dry, add additional water. If water drips from it when squeezed add dry leaves or sawdust.

Step 6

Turn the compost once a week with a garden fork. Mix all the contents evenly together to encourage equal composting. Keep the lid on the bin between watering and turning.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not compost meat, dairy and greasy foods. These break down slowly and attract pests. Shred large amounts of leaves and pruned branches before adding to the bin or they may break down too slowly.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic garbage can
  • Drill
  • Tray
  • Bricks
  • Straw
  • Yard waste
  • Compost starter
  • Garden fork
  • Watering can


  • University of Kentucky Extension: Contructing A Garbage Can Compost Bin
Keywords: plastic composter, indoor compost bin, discrete yard waste composting, soil amendment

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.