Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trash Can Composter

In the summer of 2011 I installed a new compost bin in the back yard. The recycled black plastic bin had a removable lid and a sliding door at the bottom to remove the finished compost.  It worked great for a while, but last year the weight of the material inside the plastic bin warped the runners and one side of the door came off and hung awkwardly.  I tried to fix it a couple of times, but didn't have any luck.  I decided that this spring it was time to start over with a new bin.

The last few weeks I've searched the websites of Amazon, some local specialty retailers, and all the hardware stores in our area looking for something that was sturdy, durable, and less than $100.  Much to my surprise, even the ones that cost close to the maximum price only got fair reviews.  I did not want to spend that kind of money to have something that wouldn't last!

Son Donald is only going to be home for one more week before he goes back to college for summer session classes  I was counting on him to help me with the manual labor of emptying the old bin and filling the new one, so time was of the essence.  This morning I had an inspiration.  Would a trash can work?  A quick Google search revealed that yes, it would indeed.

On the way home from the gym I stopped at a big box hardware store and bought the cheapest black plastic trash can they had. Using the directions for a Trash Can Composter I found on the Whole Foods blog, I measured out where I wanted to put the air holes (marking them with dabs of bright pink fingernail polish), then put a spade bit on the drill and bored out all the holes.  I also drilled a hole in the lid and attached it to the can's handle with a piece of rope so it wouldn't blow away.

Donald had emptied the old bin and had the site all ready to go when I was done.  I set the holey trash can in place and used a level to make sure it was straight, then put a landscaping brick in the bottom of the can so the critters couldn't tip it over. We used a shovel and a pitchfork to fill the new bin with partially decomposed food and garden scraps. 

The purpose of compost, of course, is to help amend garden soil, so while we were at it we also dumped several wheelbarrows full of finished compost on a perennial bed and spread it around.

The finished product
Five years ago today: What A Rebel!


  1. Clever. What did you do with the frogs during this transition?

    1. I haven't seen the frogs for a week or so. Probably because the temperature's warmed up.

  2. Replies
    1. Every once in a while my creative muse does her thing.

  3. Replies
    1. Mage, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I'm off to your neck of the blogosphere to see your place.

  4. You have great dedication to that composting habit. I use all the leaves from our trees for compost.

    1. I guess I do. Over the years we've diverted a large quantity of items from the trash stream.