GCT is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.
How To Make Compost In Plastic Tub
Publish Data: July 20, 2021
Do you want to make fresh compost at your home in plastic tubs or bins? You’ve taken the right decision, even my grandfather used such plastic containers for composting purposes. Since then, my family follows the same process for producing compost for our garden. So in this article, I’ll write about how to make compost in plastic tubs or bins at your home.
Composting is time-consuming, but if you do it in small plastic containers, the process gets accelerated more. First, you need to get the ideal containers and drill them. Then you have to fill them with green and brown material. Selecting a good location, releasing earthworms, and daily nurture will yield a good quality compost. Then you can use it as a natural fertilizer for your garden. Continue to read the rest of the article to find more information about this.
Why Should You Make Compost in a Plastic Container?
Compost acts as fertilizer and soil conditioner for your garden. For indoor composting, the use of plastic storage container is noteworthy. Because they are widely available, easy to access and move, and very cheap to purchase. Moreover, it will be easy for you to manage the contents of a small container rather than a larger one. Also, you can get finished compost straight out of the bottom of the container. That is why you will find most gardeners producing compost in plastic bucket or bins of their choice.
Materials and Equipment
- 2 or 3 large size plastic containers or storage bins.
- Wet decomposable materials, for example, kitchen scraps, yard waste, food scraps, eggs shells etc.
- Dry decomposable materials, for example, thin branches, broken twigs, bits of wood, shredded paper, dry leaves, etc.
- An electric drill. We recommend bit sizes of ¼ inch and ⅛ inch.
- A small container of earthworms. It helps to accelerate the composting process initially.
- Stainless small-holed hardware cloth or wire mesh.
How to Convert the Plastic Container into a Compost Bin
Select the Ideal Plastic Tubs or Bins
If you check your house properly, you may find spare plastic bins or tubs. You can easily convert them into reusable compost bins. If you cannot find any, always remember to take a look at your nearby department stores. Make sure that the containers have tight-fitting lids that will be helpful to retain moisture. Our recommended size is 18 gallons having at least 20 inches in height. But if the volume is any less than 18 gallon, the earthworms will not have enough space for movement. Also, it will be tough for them to regulate the temperature.
Prepare the Plastic Bins
If you have two identical plastic containers, you can place one inside the other. As both of them have uniform mouth sizes, they will fit perfectly. Before doing this, if you can manage to drill a few holes at the bottom of the upper container, it will be helpful to drain out any excess liquid from the first bin. You can use this drained liquid called ‘compost tea’ as fertilizer for your garden. This will prevent your compost from getting soggy.
Next, power up your drill and make ¼ inch or ⅛ inch sized holes every 2 or 3 inches apart along each side of the plastic containers including the lid. If you follow the procedure in the previous paragraph, make sure to drill holes at the bottom of the first container only. However, if you drill using bigger bit sizes, place hardware cloth or wire mesh at the inner wall of the bin to resist rodents. Remove all plastic residues after making the holes.
Select the Best Location For the Bins
After the holes are drilled, it’s time for you to select the perfect place for the containers. If you live in a cold climate area, consider placing them indoors. Otherwise, the decomposition will stop freezing the compost. But if you live in a hot climate area, place them outdoors provided you can shelter them from rainfall.
You can place them near your kitchen or vegetable garden. In this way, you can easily compost the kitchen scraps, household waste, food scraps, garden waste, weeds, and yard trimmings into it. Other than that, you can also place them on balconies, porches, garages, or storage sheds. Just remember that wherever you place them, you need to keep them safe from heavy rainfall, cold, and excess sunlight.
Fill the Bin with Decomposable Materials
Make sure to add any dry decomposable materials as the first layer, for example, grass clippings, coffee filters, broken down sticks, paper napkins, and towels, thin branches, toilet paper rolls, paper egg cartons, shredded newspaper, coffee grounds, dry leaves, wood chips, wood ash etc. These dry organic matters will help you to create a stable base and retain the proper moisture. Before adding any big and dry paper rolls, make sure that you chop them into smaller pieces. You can also make it damp to accelerate the decomposition rate.
Then gradually you can add wet decomposable materials like kitchen scraps. Wet materials also include rinsed egg shells, vegetable peelings, and food waste, fruit peels, vegetable scraps, etc. Remember that before adding any kitchen compostable materials like vegetables and fruits, you need to finely chop them using a knife or food processor similar to a blender. Chopping into smaller pieces will help them to break down quicker and promote decomposition.
Release the Earthworms
You can always release a handful of earthworms initially to expedite the decomposition process, although it is optional. If your container is smaller, you can start with around 100 to 150 earthworms. But if you can manage the container of our recommended size, you can release 200 to 300 earthworms at first.
The earthworms consume all the decomposable materials and keep recycling again into the compost. Nurture them properly and protect them from cold or bright sunlight. Contact your local worm farmer who can supply you with earthworms. In addition, if you have a bait and tackle shop nearby, you can easily get worms for your compost.
Ensure Better Maintenance of the Containers
Don’t add composting materials without proper measurement. Because excessive dry materials will decelerate the decomposition rate while too many wet materials will make the compost soggy and smelly resulting in the death of worms. Keep in mind that a healthy compost pile generally has less nitrogen matter than carbon materials.
If you find that the contents inside the compost are very wet producing a pungent smell, you need to add some dry scraps like shredded dead leaves and sawdust into it. On the other hand, if the inside is very dry, add wet materials gradually and spray water to increase moisture levels.
You need to shuffle the organic material every 3 or 4 days so that none of them stay inactive. Try to use your hand while doing this, because using a scoop or shovel may kill the worms. Keep turning the materials and bring the bottom ones to the top. In this way, you can release the oxygen trapped inside and let fresh air in.
Don’t leave your compost unturned for a long period. As you have added food scraps, they can consume nutrients to grow a plant. As a result, your compost will become less nutritious day by day. The compost can no longer act as a fertilizer, all your hard work is wasted. On the contrary, turning the compost too often will interrupt the movement and growth of eco-friendly organisms like actinomycetes, fungi, molds, yeasts, red wiggler worms, pill bugs, etc.
Nurture Properly and take Preventive Measures
- Check the temperature of the compost daily. If it is warm enough, then the decomposition is occurring properly. But don’t let the inside get too hot, otherwise, the microorganisms will die.
- If the inside is cold, maybe the decomposition is not happening efficiently. Try to add nitrogen to it through green material and water.
- You can always add earthworms to accelerate the decomposition process but be sure to keep a count of them. In addition, you can use commercial compost starter and nitrogen fertilizer in the optimum amount to quicken the process.
- Make sure that the drainage holes at the bottom do not get clogged because of excess compost materials. Shuffling contents from time to time can prevent this.
- Remember, you must not add all kinds of kitchen waste into the compost, for example, banana peels, peach peels, raw eggs, dairy products, animal bones, meat, etc. Although they will get decomposed in the bin, the process will most likely develop pathogens. This will generate a pungent odor and attract harmful pests and rodents.
Composting in a plastic tub or bin is easier than doing it in a large container. You will have better mobility and accessibility with those containers that will help you to nurture efficiently. While other methods can cost you more, this successful composting process can be completed for less than $20 or $30. Your cheap compost will turn into nutritious fertilizer in just 3 to 5 months (12 to 14 weeks). Then you can use it in your garden for better productivity. So, don’t wait and start investing in homemade compost now and make natural fertilizers for your garden soil.