top of page

Make A Simple Compost Bin

To make a simple compost bin with my crude carpentry skills, I repurposed some wood from an old deck.

Old deck boards and 4x4s

The design features a box of six layered squares with interlocking 4x4 corners. I stacked enough squares to get the height I want so I don't have to bend over to lift the heavy lid.

The key is to offset the corner 4x4s by an inch, with the protruding side facing down. For the lowermost frame I affix a wire mesh to prevent animals from burrowing in from below. It also allows water to percolate into the ground.

For the top stack I secure one board across the back side, to which the door hinge is affixed. The door itself has a simple "Z" backing. It was easier to leave remnants of the old deck attached to some of the planks, like on the bottom side of the lid, than to struggle to detach them.

The final product is a sturdy compost bin hidden underneath an outdoor stairway. I have a bungee cord secured from above that I can hook to the inside of the opened lid when I'm dumping larger loads of leftovers from the kitchen.

To remove eventually the regenerated soil, I can unstack the upper layers of the box to make a new low box, then transfer into it the top "greens and browns" that are not yet composted. That reveals a lower level of composted soil that can be harvested. Then re-stack the remaining frames onto the low box containing the fresher crud. Top it again with the lid.

After three years of tossing nearly all compostable food scraps into the bin, the debris remains surprisingly low. The most amazing part of the compost bin is how much less weight we ship to the landfill. All of those water-intensive rinds and peels which normally make up the bulk of our waste no longer go the curb. We now take out trash for pickup vastly less often than before.

I defer to others about how to maintain a compost pile, for some people are certainly more particular than I in balancing their "greens and browns." They may want the rich soil a compost pile yields. Despite the soil gain, I believe the real advantage of composting is the decrease in shipped trash weight.

Just be sure to abide by the rules of what not to compost (like meat or dairy) in order to keep the smell, flies, and animals at bay. Yes, there are spider webs and gnat-like insects inside this bin, but no negative effects outside.

Wood compost bin lid



Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page