Homemade Trash Can Compost Bin


Hide your compost operation from your nosy neighbors by using a garbage can. A covered metal or heavy plastic garbage can is an inexpensive and fairly easy compost unit for anyone to use in their back yards. The garbage can composter can be set up in a corner of a small yard, near the garage or on the back deck or balcony of a small apartment. Compost your kitchen waste to create a nutrient rich soil for your flower or vegetable garden in a homemade trash can compost bin.

Step 1

Drill 1/4 inch holes every four inches around the circumference of the garbage can. Make two to three more rows about six inches apart around the can.

Step 2

Drill several 1/4 inch holes in the bottom of the compost garbage can for drainage.

Step 3

Stand the can upright in the location where you plant to keep it. Drop untreated sawdust, wood chips or small pieces of broken twigs into the bottom of the can interior until it is about three inches high.

Step 4

Add nitrogen-rich green garden waste and green kitchen scraps on top of the wood.

Step 5

Scoop a layer of aged compost or garden soil on top of the green matter. Continue to add more green waste and carbon-based wood products. Strips of black and white newspaper pages can be used between layers of kitchen scraps and grass clippings.

Step 6

Place cover loosely on top of the can to keep a source of oxygen open for the materials inside.

Things You'll Need

  • 32 gallon or smaller garbage can
  • Drill
  • 1/4 inch drill bit


  • Dirty Hands Garden: Compost information
  • Cooperative Extension: Constructing a garbage can composter

Who Can Help

  • Recycling Revolution: Compost bins
Keywords: composting, compost bin, garbage can compost

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written ad copy and online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Chilldren's Literature course in 1988.