Compost is decomposed organic matter that is full of nutrients and can be used as a fertilizer in planting soil. Compost is a great way to recycle produce that would otherwise be considered waste. Making your own compost bin is a simple way to reduce food waste, while also feeding your garden.


  • Container and lid – This can be anything from a milk jug to a mini or full-sized trash can
  • Catch tray
  • Soil
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Hammer and nails
  • Power drill
  • Scissors


  1. Find the optimal location for your compost bin – many prefer to keep their bin near their trashcans or under the sink.
    • Note: Keep the bin in a dry location to prevent mold.
  2. Cover the catch tray with shredded newspaper.
  3. Use the power drill to create holes around the top of the bin and in the lid.
    • Note: Certain types of containers may require a different tool to create the necessary holes.
  4. Place the bin on top of the newspaper covered catch tray.
  5. Fill the bin about a quarter of the way with soil.
  6. Add a layer of shredded newspaper on top of the soil
  7. Begin composting!

Tips on How to Compost

  • When adding food scraps be sure they are as small as possible.
  • Add shredded newspaper every so often after adding food scraps, so that you may be sure to keep a wet vs. dry balance.
  • Mix the compost at least once a week and add about one half a scoop of new soil so that the produce breaks down evenly.
  • The bin shouldn’t give off a rotten smell, so if it does this means the compost may be off balance and the bin is in need of adjustments. This could be a need for more holes for air flow or additional dry newspapers.

What to Compost

  • Organic food scraps including fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.
  • Small paper pieces including shredded newspaper, paper towels, napkins, etc.
  • Coffee grounds

What NOT to Compost

  • Meat (includes poultry)
  • Dairy
  • Bones
  • Food wrappers
  • Plastic