How to Make a Compost Bin from a Garbage Can

Garbage Can Compost Bin. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Forget about buying a composter. You can make your own compost bin from a garbage can in no time.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30 minutes or less

Here's How:

  1. Drill holes through the sides and bottom of a trash can to create ventilation.
  2. Place an even mix of brown and green materials inside the can. Brown materials include: leaves, twigs, wood chips, newspaper and cardboard. Green materials include: fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds and egg shells.
  1. Add a small amount of water to the can – just enough to moisten the materials. Then, place the lid on the can; bungee cord it in place; and give it a quick roll around the yard to mix the contents.
  2. Position your can on top of a few bricks to ensure good air flow, and your compost bin is ready to go.


  1. Roll your compost bin around the yard once a week to keep the contents mixed.
  2. Add a bit of water, whenever your compost seems dry.

What You Need:

  • A plastic trash can, with lid
  • A drill
  • A 1/2-inch wood bit
  • 3 bricks
  • A bungee cord