Do it Yourself

How to Make a Compost Bin

This How to Make a Compost Bin tutorial and shopping trip has been compensated by Energizer. All opinions are mine alone. 


How to Make Your Own Compost Bin

For this tutorial, I reused a worn out household tote to create outdoor compost bin.

Composting seems like it should be something very difficult to accomplish, but on the contrary, it is quite easy and very helpful for our environment. Composting reduces the amount of waste in our landfills, which reduces the amount of hazardous runoff in our water resources.

How to Make Your Compost Bin

You’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver or an electric drill.

First, drill several vent holes 2 to 4 inches apart in the sides of the bin. Anywhere on the top half of the bin is fine as long as it’s 2 to 4 inches below the top rim.

Now, drill a few vent holes in the bottom.

What Materials Can You Compost?


  • Paper napkins & towels
  • Freezer-burned vegetables or fruit
  • Fresh or rotten veggies or fruit scraps
  • Burlap coffee bags
  • Pet hair
  • Wood chips
  • Lint from dryer & behind refrigerator
  • Hay
  • un popped Popcorn
  • Old spices & herbs
  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Matches (paper or wood)
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Grass clippings
  • Potato peelings
  • Plain Paper or with black & white ink
  • Weeds
  • Hair clippings
  • Stale bread
  • Coffee grounds
  • Wood ashes, Sawdust
  • Tea bags and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit rinds
  • Pea vines
  • Houseplant trimmings
  • Old uncooked pasta
  • Garden soil
  • Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
  • Facial type tissue paper (not toilet paper)
  • Tree bark
  • Flower petals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
  • Expired flower arrangements
  • Citrus wastes (like lemons, orange and lime)
  • Old leather gardening gloves
  • Tobacco wastes
  • Nut shells
  • Straw
  • Shredded cardboard
  • Fish bones
  • Shrimp, Lobster & crab shells (I personally avoid adding animal products)
  • Toenail clippings
  • Leather wallets
  • Fruit pits
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Stale breakfast cereal
  • Pickles
  • ‘Dust bunnies’ from under the bed
  • Pencil shavings
  • Wool socks,
  • Artichoke leaves,
  • Leather watch bands
  • Brown paper bags
  • Burned toast (not buttered)
  • Feathers
  • Animal fur
  • Vacuum cleaner bag contents
  • Old or outdated seeds
  • Liquid from canned vegetables or canned fruit
  • Snow
  • Dirt from soles of shoes
  • boots
  • soap scraps
  • Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
  • Cardboard (shredded)
  • Grocery receipts


What compost material should you avoid?

Diseased plants, Animal products (meat,bones & dairy) they can create a foul smelling compost bin, Colored/color printed paper such as store circulars and weeds that root easily. I personally avoid all weeds.

How should you organize your compost bin?

Your bin should alternate between green material and brown material. Brown material would things such as bark, pine needles, newspaper, wood chips or lint. Green materials would be things such as fruits or veggies.

Set your bin in a sunny location and forget about it for 1 week. After 1 week I shake and turn the bin then mix the content together.

Maintenance Commitment: 

After initially making the bin, you will not need to give it much more attention than to flip it every couple of weeks. Continue adding materials to the bin as often as you accumulate them.

Using Your Compost:

Four to six weeks prior to the time that you’d like to use your compost, stop adding materials.

In about 8 weeks, your compost will be ready to use in your garden.




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14 thoughts on “How to Make a Compost Bin

  1. Thank you for this! We're working on our yard this summer. My husband and I just had a conversation yesterday about composting and he said it was too difficult. Honestly, I thought the compost had to sit for months and months – 8 weeks really isn't that bad and would be just in time for fall planting. Definitely need to check out those batteries – we're always running low and we're focused on being more economically responsible.

  2. This post is just what I needed! I've been thinking that I'd like to start composting but really didn't know where to start. Interestingly, I have an old bin sitting in my kitchen right now that I was going to recycle. This is perfect! #client

  3. I've been really into gardening lately but have yet to do a compost bin! Thank you for all the ideas to help me get started.

  4. This is a great idea, We did something like this with a big bucket. Te bin is great.

  5. That is an awesome list of compostable items! We're big compost fans, and have been for years. We have several of the spinning composting bins and I love them because they are portable and don't kill the grass – but this idea is great for those old bins we have laying around! Cool batteries, too. I would imagine that there are a lot of batteries out there to be recycled! Now, if we could just compost them!

  6. This is a great idea. It would be really good for people that don't have a lot of back yard space to compost in.

  7. I used to compost and should really get back into it. Thanks for the tips!

  8. I always try to compost. I have a garden in the summer and we use the compost for it.

  9. I had one in the kitchen before kids. This is a great DIY. Thanks!

  10. That is a great idea. I did not think to do this inside, I thought it was something only to do outside.

  11. Good to know! I've thought about doing a compost bin.

  12. Very informative post. I've been meaning to get into gardening for the longest time and can't seem to start. These are really great tips

  13. I have always wanted one and we have the space outside to have one. Call it laziness, maybe in 2015 🙂

  14. This is a great compost bin – so easy. Pinned to my Healthy Living Board

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