How to Build a Corrugated Tin Compost Bin


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans recovered more than 22 million tons of trash in 2008 just through composting. Keep some of your own household's waste out of landfills and produce a nutrient-rich soil amendment at the same time by building and using an inexpensive corrugated tin compost bin. Corrugated tin comes in a variety of widths; when you purchase it at your local hardware store or home improvement center, make sure you select tin that is at least 36 inches wide so it can hold enough compost to maintain hot composting temperatures.

Step 1

Place your compost bin in an appropriate location. Look for a convenient area that has good drainage and at least four to six hours of sun each day; many gardeners place their compost bins right next to their gardens so they can simply scoop the finished compost into the garden without having to transport it. If you have close neighbors, try to put your bin in an inconspicuous or hidden location out of courtesy, so they won't have to look at it every day.

Step 2

Remove the turf covering a 3-foot-square section of ground marking your compost location. Use a shovel to carefully peel back the turf and move it to the side to expose the soil; this allows the millions of decomposing microorganisms in the soil to have direct access to your compost, which helps produce finished compost more quickly.

Step 3

Don your work gloves and lay your corrugated tin flat on the ground. Use a tape measure to measure out 10½ feet of tin. Cut the tin with your tin snips, moving the snips slowly and cutting carefully to minimize any jagged edges across the width of the tin.

Step 4

Lay one cut end of the corrugated tin on top of a 2-by-4-inch board, making sure that the cut edge of the tin is lined up straight with the long side of the board. Position a second 2-by-4-inch board on top of the corrugated tin; the cut end of the tin should be sandwiched between the two boards.

Step 5

Measure up about 9 inches from the bottom edge of the sandwiched tin and drill straight through the entire sandwich with a 3/8-inch drill bit; the drill hole should be about 2 inches from the cut edge. Drill another hole approximately 1 inch from the first hole. Repeat this process twice more, making each pair of holes approximately 9 inches above the previous pair of holes and about 2 inches from the cut edge of the tin.

Step 6

Pull the boards away from the tin; you should have three sets of holes evenly spaced along the cut edge of the tin. Reposition the two boards on the second cut edge of the tin and drill three similar sets of holes, making sure they're in line with the sets of holes on the other cut edge before you drill.

Step 7

Place the section of corrugated tin upright on its long side and form it into a circle, bringing the edges together and overlapping the last 3 inches on both ends. Match the pairs of holes together and secure the bin shut by threading 6-inch pieces of 12.5-gauge wire through the holes.

Step 8

Place your corrugated tin compost bin in the center of the exposed soil. You should be able to produce finished compost with this type of bin within about six months to two years, depending upon the materials you're composting and how frequently you turn the compost.

Tips and Warnings

  • Exercise care when working with the tin to keep from cutting yourself on any sharp edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Work gloves
  • Corrugated tin
  • Tape measure
  • Tin snips
  • 2 2-by-4-inch boards
  • Drill with 3/8-inch bit
  • 12.5-gauge wire
  • Wire cutters


  • U.S. EPA: 2008 Municipal Solid Waste Facts and Figures
  • University of Missouri Cooperative Extension: How to Build a Compost Bin
Keywords: compost bin, composting, compost containers

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.