DIY Trash Can Composter
Earlier this week I shared a post that explained the many reasons why we should all compost. So if you are shopping at a farmer's market, buying organic, and spending extra for Seventh Generation cleaning products (which I LOVE) then I ask you...why are you not composting?
Many people wait to start composting because they are overwhelmed as to where to begin, how to do it, and it just feels a little "out there" for them. Don't worry- ANYONE can compost. So if you are a hipster riding your fixed wheel, a Mom of 3, or an urbanite you CAN compost. It's about finding the right regimen.
The composter that I built cost less than $20 and basically took all of 15 minutes to finish. I chose this particular design because since moving to Upstate NY we have a little bit more breathing room than when we were living in Portsmouth or Boston.
But before we get into how to compost, let's chat a little bit about what the heck it really means:
Composting is the process of speeding up the normal breakdown of organic materials. Combine kitchen scraps, lawn clippings with a little water and oxygen- wait a bit and ....Voila! you have compost and amazing nutrient rich fertilizer.
What you need is a good ratio of "green" to "brown" (about 50/50). The dry/brown makes up things like leaves, paper etc and contains the carbon component. The wet/Green- things like food scraps, and coffee grounds brings about the nitrogen component. Balancing these two just helps to speed up the breakdown process. TIP: don't get hung up on the perfect balance. If you notice your compost bing looking really dry, add a bit of water to it to make sure it is damp (think of it like a sponge).
What to put in your compost: Basically all food scraps go into our compost bin, along with dryer lint, egg shells, coffee grounds, organic tea bags, you name it. Unless you have a composter that can get REALLY hot, I suggest avoiding dairy or meat as these things will not break down well (and can lead to some unpleasant odors). Want to know if you can compost it? Check out this article from Small Footprint Family on 100 things you can compost.
So let's get to it!
What you will need:
- 1 20-30 Gallon Galvanized Steel Trash can (you can also use a rubber trash can, but I opted for the metal
- 1 Hammer and Large Nail (you can also use an drill and a drill bit)
- 3-4 bricks to set the trash can on (so you can get ventilation underneath)
Punch or drill several holes in the bottom of the trash can, sides, and the lid. The great thing about the lid is that it will cut down on any unwanted critters getting into your bin. I would also suggest buying a compost keeper to place on your counter, or under the kitchen sink that way you will only have to bring it out to empty in your bin when it gets full. Added bonus is that the compost keeper has a filter that keeps any stinky smells or fruit flies away!
Not sure if you have the space for a trash can or living in the city? Don't worry there are many other options including small tumblers, and even worm bins (don't be scared).
Ready to get started? Awesome! Reach out to me with any comments or questions. Rock on with your rad eco-friendly self!