Tag Archives: trash can compost bin

Do You Love Your Trash Can?

trash can composter

Wow, I started this thing over a year ago and I still haven’t filled it up.

While I usually add to my big cubic yard sized bin, the can’s been getting attention too.

How is this working?  Honestly, I was surprised this system would work this well due to its limited size.

Then I remembered that it’s basically the same capacity as a compost tumbler, without the tumbling function…which isn’t needed.

My major finding is that simply leaving the lid off and getting it soaked every few days is enough to keep this thing going smoothly.

Dry piles are slow piles, and compost craves moisture- I found that the warmer months dried out my can quicker with the lid on…try it out- pests aren’t an issue with this system.

If you’re a semi-regular reader of the site or viewer of my videos, you’ll know what I’m going to say next-

Cover your food scraps!  Each time you add food scraps, cover them up with a layer of browns.  That’s it- the earth’s oldest process is hassle-free.

City Composting: Try the Alley?

philly alley

I walked around in this alley and had a look inside all of the trash cans.

The majority were for recyclables, but the ones that were trash, were mostly organic materials… this is going to be the case if you don’t compost.

Notice how much of a mess this alley is?  It smelled pretty rank, too.

Not that I care it smells, but the smells could be completely avoided by adding a trash can of another kind used for compost.

This alley is one block from a public park full of leaves and dead plants (cover materials).  Get creative and divert your organics…I promise you it isn’t hard, and the rewards are beyond satisfying.


Are You Composting Yet?

Did you watch any TV today?  Yesterday?  This week?

If so, were there any commercials?

In the time it took for the three commercials to whizz by, you could have emptied your kitchen food scrap collector into your backyard trash can composter and cut your landfilling in half.

No, really- drill holes in a trash can, fill it halfway with ripped up leaves and dead plants, then add your food scraps.  Finish it off by covering them with another layer of leaves.  Add some water, then go inside.

Hit the pause button again and continue watching Game of Thrones.  I guess most people don’t actually watch TV anymore right?  Now it’s all internet and you can pause everything and skip commercials and stuff… well, you get the point!

Five minutes a week and you’re doing something in your backyard that’s as important, if not more important, than recycling.

Take the future into your own hands and tell your friends you’re cutting down your emissions, creating soil, and cutting your landfill contributions in half.  The Earth’s oldest process sure is a lot of fun.

Trash Can Tweak

With the warmer months coming on, I noticed a pretty simple adjustment to my trash can composter that might help you get better results.

Have you noticed when you keep the lid on that the contents seem to dry out pretty quickly?  It rained the last few days here, so I kept the lid off so the contents could get extra damp… and the pile got pretty warm!  This is what happens when you keep it damp- compost craves moisture.

The key is to simply ensure your mix is right- double your browns with each addition of food scraps, and make sure you have a nice layer of browns on top.

I saw a raccoon walking around my tiny back yard last night and left him be… the next day, I saw there was nothing torn up- and I have two massive compost bins and the trash can composter, all open to anything that might find it.

Again, the key is the cover material on top… and keep your stuff moist!  Note to self: rinse out food containers better- the raccoon made a mess of my recycling bin.

How to Compost in Small Spaces Using a Trash Can

One of the major factors keeping people from composting is a perceived lack of space.

I decided to create a simple trash can composter system to see how effective it is.

For just $20 and 15 minutes to drill the holes, I have a composting system that is equal in capacity to a pricey compost tumbler.

As long as you drill enough holes and pay attention to moisture levels, this composting method should work for people that only have a small yard, alleyway or perhaps a balcony to work with.

I’ll have more updates on this in the coming months…let me predict the future: it works!


Trash Can Composting

photo: Marilee Bell

I realized that after I made my balcony composting videos, that I was shortchanging people in a sense- if you have the space to use a garbage can instead of a kitty litter container or a 5 gallon bucket, please do so!

I received the above picture from a crazy composter named Marilee, and I had to share it with you.  Great job, Marilee!

One of the most important factors for composting is VOLUME.  Therefore, the more volume you have, the better your results will be, given your materials added are appropriate.

I tend to do that a lot- when my pile is just hovering at the 100F mark, I’ll go clean up the block and shred a few bags’ worth of leaves, soak them and add to the pile.

Anyway, trash can composting is simple.  Here’s all you need to do it:

-Drill holes in the sides and in the bottom.
-Add 6″ of shredded leaves/hay/straw first.  This is your “sponge” to help absorb runoff.
-Add a handful of dirt, and perhaps some finished compost if you have it.
-Add food scraps.  Each time you do so, add an equal amount of brown materials.
-Collect the leachate underneath in a pan or bucket.  Dump it back in through the top.
-Watch how useless your trash can becomes.

Trash Can Compost Bin

Trash Can Compost Bin

Here’s a good video on composting using nothing more than a trash can and a pair of bricks.  It really is that easy!

The bigger the container you can fit, the better.  One critical factor for successful compost is volume.

Using a nice big trash can will ensure you can get your pile cooking.

Trash Can Composting

photo: Marilee Bell

Trash can composting is an effective way to compost at home without spending a ton of money on a compost tumbler or big clunky compost bin.

Are the results as good?

With attention to a few key factors, the answer is definitely yes.

For composting to work well, you need to primarily pay attention to airflow, volume, moisture, and contents.

The above picture was sent in to me, and I love it.  Up to this point, I’ve composted in cramped spaces using small kitty litter buckets, but haven’t had a trash can to try.

Realistically, it’s about the same footprint and you’ll get better results due to the capacity.

For a successful trash can composter, make sure you drill plenty of holes- composting needs oxygen.  Lots of commercially available composting systems have poor ventilation, and that’s why people complain they have soggy materials inside.

Drill holes in the bottom, too- it’s good for airflow, and also for drainage.  It helps to put the trash can up on a pair of cinder blocks or bricks, and place a tray/bucket underneath to catch all the leachate.  When this fills up, just dump it back in.

Leachate has nutrients in it, and you might as well put them back in the system.  Further, to prevent leachate from running out like crazy, make sure you start the composter with a good six inches of shredded brown materials like leaves, straw, or hay in order to absorb the excess.

After that, just go back and forth between brown and green materials.  It also helps to add a handful of browns with each deposit of food scraps to balance it out.

Do you have experience composting like this?  Let me know how it’s been.

It’s definitely a cheap and easy way to compost when you don’t have a lot of space but can’t stand throwing “away” your organic materials to the landfill.