DIY - Household Compost Bin Instructions

DIY - Household Compost Bin
Drill holes in bin on all sides, top, and
bottom for air to circulate. Hole size
does not matter as long as they are
small too small for rodents.
• Use the lid to seal the top of bin.
• Place bin in a convenient place, such as
in your backyard, near your garden, etc.
• Turn compost with a pitch fork, spade,
For a video demonstration, visit:
or compost aerator every few weeks.
• Mix in new materials in instead of
layering them on top to speed up
decomposition process. Avoid squashing contents.
• Keep compost moist but not wet.
• An ideal temperature for your compost bin to reach is around 140-160°F.
• Compost is finished when it’s a dark, rich color; easily crumbles; and
ingredients aren’t distinguishable. It can take 3 months — 1 year.
What Can You Compost?
Plastic storage
container (>18
gallons) with a lid.
All organic materials contain carbon and nitrogen, though most are richer in
one nutrient than the other. For best results, aim for 1/3 carbon-rich (“brown”)
and 2/3 nitrogen-rich (“green”) materials in your bin by volume. This list
describes which compostable items are carbon rich (C) and which are
nitrogen-rich (N).
Drill bits
Fruit and vegetable peels (smaller
pieces to decompose faster): N
Coffee grounds and filters: N
Tea bags: N
Crushed eggshells: neutral
Nutshells (except walnuts): C
Shredded cardboard: C
Do Not Compost:
Shredded newspaper (printed
with soy ink): C
Shredded paper: C
Plant trimmings (except diseased
plants or seedy weeds): N
Grass clippings (non-treated): N
Dry leaves: C
Untreated woodchips/sawdust: C
Meat/dairy/other animal products; pesticide-treated grass/plants; oil; diseased
plants; human or animal feces; coated paper (e.g. magazines, wrapping paper)
Stieff Silver Building · 800 Wyman Park Drive · Baltimore, MD 21211 · 410-448-5663
Other Types of Compost Bins:
These other types of bins, which may be more sophisticated to build or more expensive to buy than the
simple plastic bin creation, follow a similar process of upkeep. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Pre-Made Closed Bin Composter
Tumbling Barrel Composter
Retain moisture and heat. Sealed from
elements. Difficult to turn and harvest.
Eases the process of turning/aerating the
compost, but can be difficult if too heavy.
Fully sealed to keep out rodents/pests.
Smaller capacity. More expensive.
Open Bin
Open 3-Bin Rotating System
Easy and inexpensive. Good air
circulation, but, depending on weather,
may dry out faster or become too wet.
Not fully animal resistant.
Expand your composting system to have
three working piles at different stages of the
decomposition process. Requires more
space, so good for community gardens.
Stieff Silver Building · 800 Wyman Park Drive · Baltimore, MD 21211 · 410-448-5663