How to Build a DIY Compost Bin for Under $10


With just a few inexpensive supplies, you can build your own backyard compost bin. This simple DIY project costs less than $10 and provides free garden fertilizer.

Composting offers many benefits for gardeners. It recycles kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments. Purchasing a compost bin can cost $50 or more. However, with a little DIY spirit, you can make one for just $10.

This easy, budget-friendly project uses basic supplies. With a few modifications, an everyday storage bin transforms into an effective composter. Strategic placement and proper care will have your bin producing garden gold in no time.

Supplies Needed for a DIY Compost Bin

  • Plastic storage bin with lid (at least 24 in. tall)
  • Utility knife or drill
  • Duct tape
  • Chicken wire (1 ft. square)
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps to build your own backyard compost bin.

1. Select a Suitable Plastic Bin

Look for an inexpensive Rubbermaid or Sterilite storage bin at least 24 inches tall. For proper aeration, the bin should have a detachable lid. Big box stores often sell these types of bins for around $5-10.

2. Cut Ventilation Holes

Use a utility knife or drill to cut several holes in the bottom and sides of the bin. This allows air circulation and drainage. Space the holes every 4-6 inches for optimal ventilation.

3. Modify Lid

Cut a large rectangular opening in the center of the lid. Then cover the opening with chicken wire, securing it with duct tape. This prevents pests from getting in while allowing air flow.

4. Add Base Layer

Place 2-3 inches of coarse material like sticks or straw in the bottom of the bin. This improves drainage and aeration.

5. Start Composting!

Begin adding nitrogen-rich “green” materials like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. Mix in carbon-rich “browns” like dried leaves, shredded newspaper, and sawdust.

6. Turn and Moisten

Use a shovel to stir and turn the compost every few days. This mixes materials and improves decomposition. If contents are dry, sprinkle with water.

Ideal Compost Bin Placement

Choose a shady, well-draining spot near a water source. Convenient access encourages regular maintenance. Locate your compost bin in the garden for easy fertilizer access.

With a few basic supplies and a bit of DIY spirit, you can build an inexpensive compost bin. Follow proper composting techniques, and you’ll soon enjoy free garden fertilizer. Let your food scraps and yard waste work for you!