Tag Archives: trash can composter

Bottomless pit composter?… or just a lot of grubs?

I thought i was overdue on starting my second trash can composter… the first one has had a bottomless pit for the last few months.

I was certain it would have been at capacity awhile ago, but then I took a closer look.

Not only were there a ton of red wigglers in there breaking it down, but also gobs and gobs of grubs- excellent!

They’ve been a huge help for sure- the pile has been steadily cooking along at a mellow 80 to 90 degrees since its inception, which wouldn’t be hot enough to break down the contents so swiftly.

Once the temperature drops a bit more, I’m going to try transferring as many of the worms over to the big pile as I can…hoping that it’s thick enough to insulate them through the winter- we’ll see!

An indicator of a working compost pile… worms!

Looks like the trash can composter is doing well- red wigglers are reproducing here, meaning the environment is hospitable for them.

I water mine once a week (half a watering can) after I add my food scraps and cover with leaves.

A dry compost pile has a hard time working- keep it damp and you’ll keep it moving… and keep the worms around, too.

How to Build a Trash Can Composter with a Door

I made another trash can composter today- this time with a nice door upgrade.  What for?

Now that my first composter is filled up, it’s going to be tedious to empty out the finished compost 6 months from now.  With the door at the bottom, I hope to remove the finished material much easier.

All in all, the project cost me less than $30 and about an hour of work… better yet, it was a cinch to make.

I picked a trash can that had a relatively flat side so it would be easier to attach hinges flush to the surface.

Here’s a close-up of the door at the bottom:

To build the door, I drilled the holes for all three hinges and screwed them in place first (don’t mount the washers and nuts yet).

Second, I used a boxcutter to cut out the door…I made it a good 10″ tall to give my hand some clearance to fish around and remove finished compost.

Next, I threaded the nuts on the screws on each of the hinges and tightened them down.

Finally, I used a 3/16″ bit to drill aeration holes on all sides of the bin plus the lid.

Clean up and dispose all of the plastic shavings from the inside and the outside.

That’s it!

Now you’re ready to divert organic materials from the landfill-  Feels good, doesn’t it?

Equipment List:

-Phillips head screwdriver
-Drill
-3/16″ drill bit for ventilation holes
-Socket wrench (or adjustable wrench)
-2 hinges
-1 latch
-Nylon insert lock nuts
-Lock washers
-Stainless steel screws

Here’s a video I made to show you how to add materials to the bin:

Cheers!

Compost Bins: Drill Holes in the Lid?

Yes.

I didn’t drill holes in mine for a while because I just left the lid off, resembling my larger sized cubic yard compost bins.

However, using a lid with plenty of holes can offer the same benefits- good airflow and it allows rainwater to penetrate, too.

Now that it’s summer, compost systems need more moisture to work effectively… keep them damp, and if you want to use a lid, drill holes to contain the process without hampering it.

Worms After a Fresh Rain

worm-can-1

 

worm-can-2

I’m curious how long these guys will stick around…it’s October now, and the temperatures are starting to drop at night just a bit.

They love coming up around the edges of the trash can composter after a good rain.  Love it!

Looking to compost indoors through the winter?    Click here to learn more.

Use a Trash Can on the Balcony Instead of a Bucket.

Some of my most popular videos are balcony composting videos…I made them a long time ago using really small buckets.

While this method does work, you’ll get better results with a bigger bin.

Every time I respond to a comment on those videos, I always mention using a trash can.

While both a cat litter bucket and a trash can are considered “cold” composting, I’ve found that the more volume, the better.  It allows for more material, it’ll insulate itself a bit better, and you need volume in order to get the process really going.

Watch the video above and apply that design to your balcony/confined space if at all possible- your results will be much, much better!

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.