Homemade Compost Pail

Stretching food dollars is great but no matter how you try, there will always be kitchen waste in the form of food scraps. Rather than throw them away, save them to make compost for your garden. But where to save them? In the kitchen compost bucket you make from other recycled goods.

You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, like a paint bucket, laundry detergent bucket or kitty litter pail. Round up a pencil, a drill with a 3/8-inch drill bit, a hot glue gun and some glue sticks and a cat-litter-type carbon filter that you can find in a pet supply section of Wal-Mart.

Make sure the bucket is clean. There should be no traces of inorganic materials like paint or laundry soap left inside as these can be harmful to the soil you will ultimately be improving. About halfway between center and the outer circumference of the lid, draw a circle with the pencil. Using the drill, make 8 to 10 holes around this circle. These are for ventilation.

Place a glue stick into the glue gun and heat it up. Be careful of the tip and the hot glue as both can cause burns. Place the lid upside down on a flat surface. Lay the filter on the center of the lid and trace the outline of the filter onto the lid with the pencil. Remove the filter and set aside.

Just inside the edge of your filter tracing, make several dabs with the hot glue. With catlike quickness and agility, set down the glue gun and position the filter in its place, pressing down so the hot glue adheres to the filter. Hold the filter in place for a few seconds until the glue cools.

Snap the lid on top of the bucket and you have your kitchen compost pail. Each day simply scrape your foods scraps (not meat) into the bucket and snap the lid on. The filter helps control the odor. When the bucket is sufficiently filled, carry it outside to dump in your compost pile. In the winter, you add dump it directly on your garden beds.

The carbon filter should last about 5 months. Simply peel it and the dried glue off the lid and replace it, following the same steps.
This projects lets you recycle all sorts of food products like coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg shells and fruit and vegetable scraps as well as that plastic bucket that won’t end up in a landfill. It lets you save money on buying compost or fertilizer because you are making your own. And it only takes minutes to complete. With supervision, the kids can even help.

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