How to Make a Compost Bin: Grim Trash Can Edition

how to make compost bin grim trash can

Hey there! Are you looking for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to manage your kitchen scraps and yard waste? Look no further – we’ve got the perfect solution for you. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to make a compost bin using a simple, everyday item – a grim trash can. Composting is a fantastic way to reduce household waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

And with a grim trash can, you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment to get started. This DIY compost bin is perfect for small spaces, as it can easily fit on a balcony, patio, or even in a corner of your backyard. But why should you bother with composting in the first place? Well, by diverting your organic waste from the landfill, you’ll be reducing methane emissions, which are a significant contributor to climate change.

🌱 Stay Connected with Our Gardening Community! 🌱

Want to stay updated with the latest gardening tips, trends, and personalized solutions? Subscribe to our newsletter at! Our team of experts and fellow gardening enthusiasts will keep you informed and inspired on your gardening journey.

Why Subscribe to Our Newsletter?

  • 🌿 Get customized gardening solutions delivered straight to your inbox.
  • 🌿 Connect with like-minded individuals passionate about gardening.
  • 🌿 Share your knowledge and learn from others' experiences.
  • 🌿 Stay updated on the latest gardening trends, tools, and techniques.

Don't miss out on valuable gardening insights and updates! Subscribe to our newsletter today and let's grow together.

Plus, you’ll be producing your own organic fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical-based fertilizers that can harm both your plants and the environment. Now, you might be wondering, why a grim trash can? Well, a grim trash can is an ideal size for a compost bin – it’s large enough to hold a decent amount of waste but small enough to be manageable. Plus, it has a secure lid, which helps keep out pests and control odors.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps of creating your own compost bin using a grim trash can. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right location for your bin to what materials to compost and how to maintain your compost pile. By the end of this post, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a composting pro.

So, grab your gloves and let’s get started on this fun and rewarding project. By making a compost bin with a grim trash can, you’ll not only be reducing your carbon footprint but also creating a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Let’s dive in!


If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to make your own compost bin, look no further than a regular old trash can. That’s right, you can repurpose your grimy old trash can and turn it into a composting machine. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden or plants.

All you need to do is drill some holes in the bottom and sides of the trash can for air circulation. This will allow the organic material to break down properly and prevent any unpleasant smells. Then, start by layering your kitchen scraps, yard waste, and some soil or compost to get the process started.

The key is to keep the compost moist but not overly wet, and to turn it regularly to aerate it and speed up the decomposition process. In a few months, you’ll have rich, nutritious compost that you can use to nourish your plants and garden. It’s a simple and eco-friendly way to reduce waste and improve your gardening game.

So, why not give it a try and turn your trash can into a composting hero?

Benefits of Composting

composting, benefits of composting

how to make compost bin grim trash can

Choosing the Right Trash Can

Choosing the right trash can may not seem like a big decision, but it can have a significant impact on your daily life. Just think about it – you toss garbage into your trash can every single day, so it’s essential to choose one that suits your needs. From the size and shape to the material and features, there are numerous factors to consider when making this seemingly simple choice.

Whether you’re looking for a trash can for your kitchen, bathroom, or office, taking the time to find the right one can make a world of difference. So, let’s dive into the factors to consider when selecting the perfect trash can for your needs.

Preparing the Compost Bin

So you’re ready to start composting, but you’re not sure how to make a compost bin out of a trash can? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! First, you’ll want to choose a durable trash can that is at least 20-30 gallons in size. This will give you enough room to hold a substantial amount of organic material. Next, you’ll need to drill holes in the bottom and sides of the trash can to allow for proper aeration and drainage.

Make sure to space the holes evenly, about 4-6 inches apart. Once you’ve drilled the holes, place the trash can in a spot that gets partial sun and is easily accessible. This will encourage the decomposition process and make it easier for you to add and turn the material.

Remember, the key to successful composting is maintaining a proper balance of green and brown material, so be sure to add a mixture of kitchen scraps, yard waste, and shredded newspaper or cardboard. With a little time and patience, you’ll have rich, nutrient-dense compost for your garden in no time!

Drilling Holes for Ventilation

Drilling Holes for Ventilation Now that you’ve set up your compost bin and added your organic waste, it’s time to start preparing it for the decomposition process. One important step in this process is ensuring proper ventilation. Why is ventilation important? Well, just like any living organism, the microbes and other organisms that break down the organic matter in your compost bin need oxygen to survive.

Without enough oxygen, the decomposition process can become sluggish and may even produce unpleasant odors. That’s where drilling holes for ventilation comes in. Imagine you’re in a room with no windows or doors.

The air in that room would quickly become stale and stuffy, right? It’s the same concept with your compost bin. By drilling holes in the sides and bottom of the bin, you allow fresh air to enter and circulate through the organic matter. This provides the necessary oxygen for the microorganisms to thrive and break down the waste efficiently.

It also prevents the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which can produce foul-smelling gases. When drilling holes for ventilation, you want to make sure you create enough openings to allow for adequate airflow. The exact number of holes will depend on the size of your compost bin, but as a general rule, aim for about 20-30 holes per square foot of bin surface area.

You can use a drill with a small drill bit to create the holes. Space them evenly around the bin, focusing on the sides and bottom, but avoid drilling too close to the top to prevent moisture from escaping. It’s also important to consider the size of the holes.

You don’t want them to be too small, as this can restrict airflow, but you also don’t want them to be too large, as this can allow pests to enter. A good rule of thumb is to drill holes that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. This provides a balance between airflow and pest prevention.

Adding a Bottom Drainage Layer

compost bin, bottom drainage layer, preparing compost bin So, you’ve decided to start composting at home – great choice! But now you’re faced with the task of preparing your compost bin. One important step in this process is adding a bottom drainage layer. This layer serves a few important purposes.

First, it helps to improve the drainage in your compost bin. This is crucial because excess water can lead to a soggy compost pile, which can slow down the composting process. Additionally, a bottom drainage layer helps to prevent odors and reduce the risk of pests.

By allowing excess moisture to drain out of the bin, you can help create an environment that is less attractive to insects and other unwanted critters. So, how do you add a bottom drainage layer to your compost bin? Start by adding a few inches of small rocks or gravel to the bottom of the bin. This will create a barrier between the compost and the ground, allowing for proper drainage.

Then, add a layer of landscape fabric or mesh on top of the rocks to prevent them from mixing with the compost. Finally, you can add your composting materials on top of the drainage layer and get started on your composting journey.

Creating the Compost Pile

If you’re looking to create your own compost pile and don’t have a lot of space or resources, a DIY compost bin made from a garbage can is a great option. To start, choose a sturdy plastic trash can with a tight-fitting lid. This will help keep pests out and retain heat and moisture within the bin.

Begin by drilling small holes in the bottom and sides of the bin to allow for proper drainage and aeration. Place the bin in a sunny spot in your yard or garden. Next, gather your organic waste materials, such as kitchen scraps, yard debris, and shredded paper.

Layer these materials in the bin, alternating between green materials (rich in nitrogen) and brown materials (rich in carbon). Make sure to add some soil or finished compost to introduce beneficial microorganisms. As you continue to add waste, periodically turn the contents of the bin with a pitchfork or shovel to aerate and promote decomposition.

Over time, the materials will break down into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilize your plants and garden. With a little effort and some everyday household items, you can create your own compost bin and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

Layering Green and Brown Material

Layering green and brown materials is an essential step in creating a compost pile. It’s like building a delicious lasagna, with each layer contributing to the final product. The green materials are rich in nitrogen and include things like grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds.

These materials provide the necessary nutrients for the decomposers in the pile. On the other hand, the brown materials are high in carbon and provide structure and insulation to the pile. Examples of brown materials are leaves, straw, and wood chips.

By layering these materials, we create the perfect balance of nutrients and air circulation for the microorganisms to do their magic. So, the next time you’re creating a compost pile, don’t forget to layer in the greens and browns for a nutrient-rich, well-structured result.

Monitoring Moisture Levels

compost pile, moisture levels, monitoring Creating and maintaining a compost pile is a fantastic way to turn kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil for your plants. One crucial factor to keep in mind when it comes to composting is moisture levels. Too much or too little moisture can disrupt the decomposition process and lead to a smelly or ineffective pile.

So, how do you monitor moisture levels in your compost pile? Think of your compost pile as a living organism. Just like us, it needs the right amount of water to thrive. Too much water can suffocate the bacteria and other organisms that break down the organic material, while too little can slow down the decomposition process.

Aim for your compost pile to have the consistency of a damp sponge. One way to monitor moisture levels is by using your senses. Take a handful of the compost material and squeeze it gently.

If water drips out, it’s too wet, and you may need to add some dry material like leaves or shredded newspaper to absorb the excess moisture. On the other hand, if the compost feels dry and crumbly, it needs more water. Simply sprinkle some water over the pile and mix it in to distribute the moisture evenly.

Another option is to use a moisture meter specifically designed for composting. These handy tools have long probes that you can insert into the pile to get an accurate reading of the moisture content. They typically have a scale indicating dry, optimum, and wet levels.

By regularly checking the moisture levels with a moisture meter, you can adjust accordingly and ensure that your compost pile is in the ideal range. Monitoring moisture levels in your compost pile is essential for creating healthy, nutrient-rich compost. By paying attention to the consistency of the compost material and using tools like a moisture meter, you can strike the perfect balance and produce high-quality compost for your garden.

Turning the Compost

Composting is like turning trash into treasure. It’s the process of transforming organic waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to nourish plants and gardens. Creating a compost pile is the first step in this magical process.

You can start by choosing a suitable location in your backyard or garden. It should be an area that gets some sunlight and has good drainage. Next, gather your composting materials, including kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and eggshells.

You can also add yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves, and small branches. It’s important to have a good balance of “green” and “brown” materials for optimal composting. Green materials provide nitrogen, while brown materials provide carbon.

Once you have your materials, start layering them in the compost pile. Alternate between green and brown materials, making sure to break them up into smaller pieces as you go. You can also add a handful of soil or compost to introduce helpful microbes into the pile.

Lastly, water the compost pile to keep it moist but not drenched. Over time, the microbes will break down the materials, and you’ll have rich, dark compost ready to use in your garden. So grab your pitchfork and get ready to give your garden a nutrient-packed boost with your very own compost pile!

Maintaining the Compost Bin

Making a compost bin out of a large trash can is a great way to recycle your kitchen and yard waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. To maintain your compost bin, there are a few important steps you should follow. First, make sure to regularly mix the contents of your compost bin.

This helps to aerate the compost, which speeds up the decomposition process. You can use a pitchfork or shovel to turn the materials every couple of weeks. Secondly, keep your compost bin moist but not too wet.

The compost should be about as moist as a well-wrung sponge. If it becomes too dry, add a little water, and if it becomes too wet, add some dry materials like leaves or shredded paper. Lastly, be mindful of what you add to your compost bin.

Avoid adding meat, dairy, oil, or fats as these materials can attract pests and slow down the decomposition process. Stick to adding fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, and yard waste like grass clippings and leaves. By following these steps, you can maintain a healthy and productive compost bin.

Keeping the Pile Balanced

compost bin maintenance Maintaining a compost bin is essential for keeping the pile balanced and ensuring successful composting. One important aspect of maintenance is regularly turning the pile. This helps to mix the materials and add oxygen, which speeds up the decomposition process.

Turning the pile also helps to redistribute moisture and heat, preventing dry spots and cold pockets. It’s recommended to turn the pile at least once a week, but more frequent turning can be done for faster results. Another key aspect of maintenance is monitoring the moisture levels in the pile.

The pile should be damp, similar to a wrung-out sponge. If it’s too wet, it can lead to a foul smell and slow down the composting process. On the other hand, if it’s too dry, it won’t decompose properly.

Adjusting the moisture levels can be done by adding water or dry materials like leaves or sawdust. Lastly, maintaining a proper balance of green and brown materials is crucial for composting success. Green materials, such as kitchen scraps and grass clippings, provide nitrogen, while brown materials, like leaves and straw, provide carbon.

A good rule of thumb is to have a 50/50 ratio of green to brown materials in the compost bin. By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your compost bin remains healthy and productive.

Managing Odor and Pest Control

maintaining compost bin, managing compost odor, controlling pests in compost bin

Harvesting the Compost

compost bin, maintaining, harvest, compost


And there you have it, a clever and surprisingly delightful solution to transforming your grim old trash can into a compost bin. Not only will this save you money and reduce waste, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment as you watch your kitchen scraps transform into rich, nutrient-filled compost. So don’t let that dreadfully gloomy trash can go to waste any longer – give it new life as a compost bin and turn your garbage into gardening gold!”

Taking the First Step

compost bin, maintenance, taking the first step So, you’ve finally taken the plunge and started your own compost bin. Congratulations! You’re on your way to making a positive impact on the environment and creating nutrient-rich compost for your garden. But now that you have your bin set up, you may be wondering what comes next.

How do you actually maintain your compost bin to ensure it’s working at maximum efficiency? First and foremost, it’s important to remember that a compost bin is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. It requires regular maintenance to keep the composting process going smoothly. One of the most important steps in maintaining your compost bin is to keep it well-balanced.

This means ensuring a good mix of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Green materials include things like kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and fresh plant cuttings. Brown materials include things like dried leaves, wood chips, and newspaper.

It’s also crucial to monitor the moisture levels in your compost bin. The composting process requires a certain amount of moisture to function properly. If your compost becomes too dry, it will slow down or stop altogether.

On the other hand, if it becomes too wet, it may start to smell and attract pests. Aim for a compost that feels like a damp sponge when squeezed – not dripping wet, but also not completely dry. If your compost is too dry, you can add water to it.

If it’s too wet, you can add more brown materials to soak up the excess moisture. Another key aspect of maintaining your compost bin is to turn or mix the compost regularly. This helps to aerate the pile, ensuring that oxygen can reach all parts of it.


How do I make a compost bin out of a trash can?
To make a compost bin out of a trash can, follow these steps: 1. Start by drilling holes in the bottom and sides of the trash can for proper drainage and ventilation. 2. Place a layer of twigs or small branches at the bottom of the can to promote airflow. 3. Add a mixture of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials, such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and shredded paper. 4. Moisten the compost materials to ensure they are damp but not soaked. 5. Mix the compost materials occasionally to provide oxygen and aid decomposition. 6. Keep the compost bin in a shaded area and cover it with a lid or tarp to retain moisture and heat. 7. Monitor the compost’s moisture levels and temperature, adjusting as needed. 8. Over time, the organic materials will break down into nutrient-rich compost that can be used in your garden.

What can I put in my compost bin?
You can put various organic materials in your compost bin, including: – Fruit and vegetable scraps – Coffee grounds and filters – Tea bags – Eggshells – Yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, small branches, etc.) – Shredded paper and cardboard – Wood ash (in small amounts) – Plant trimmings and non-diseased plants

Can I compost meat and dairy products in my compost bin?
It is generally not recommended to compost meat and dairy products in a regular backyard compost bin. These items can attract pests and may take longer to break down. However, if you have a specialized composting system, such as a hot composting unit, you may be able to compost small amounts of these materials. It’s best to consult the guidelines of your specific composting method for more information.

How long does it take for compost to be ready?
The time it takes for compost to be ready can vary depending on factors such as the materials used, the size of the compost pile, and the environmental conditions. In general, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year for compost to fully decompose and become ready to use in the garden. Regularly turning and maintaining the compost pile can help speed up the process.

How do I maintain my compost bin?
To maintain your compost bin, consider the following tips: – Turn the compost pile regularly to provide oxygen and promote decomposition. – Monitor the moisture levels and adjust as needed. The compost should be damp but not waterlogged. – Add a mix of green and brown materials to maintain a proper carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. – Avoid adding materials that can attract pests or diseases. – Cover the compost bin to retain heat and moisture. – Remove any large, undecomposed materials from the finished compost before using.

What should I do if my compost bin smells bad?
If your compost bin smells bad, it may be due to an imbalance in the compost materials or excess moisture. To address this issue, try the following solutions: – Add more dry, brown materials (such as shredded paper or dried leaves) to absorb excess moisture. – Turn the compost pile to increase airflow and break up any compacted areas. – Avoid adding materials that are prone to causing odors, such as meat, dairy, or oily substances. – Ensure the compost is not too wet or too dry by adjusting the moisture levels. – If the smell persists, it may indicate an issue with the compost pile, and you may need to troubleshoot or seek advice from a composting expert.

Can I use compost made from my compost bin for potted plants?
Yes, you can use compost made from your compost bin for potted plants. Compost provides beneficial nutrients and improves soil structure, making it an excellent natural fertilizer for container gardening. Ensure that the compost is well decomposed and screened to remove any large particles that could affect drainage in the pots. Mix the compost with potting soil or use it as a top dressing, depending on your plant’s needs. Monitor the moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly to maintain a healthy balance for your potted plants.

Scroll to Top