When you think about recycling, food probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. The truth is leftover food can actually be reused for a little friend I like to call compost. You may or may not compost and I'm here to tell you composting is a great way to start continue living a green lifestyle.
Thank you to Valu Home Centers for sponsoring this blog post! The opinions I shared about shopping at these locations below and using the discussed materials are my own.
So let's begin with the basics. What is compost anyway?
Compost is decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer. It's also one of the most cost effective and eco-friendly things we can do to give back to good old Mother Nature.
There are different types of composting methods; today I am going to help you with "onsite composting" aka composting in your backyard. To get started, I highly recommend you visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website to learn about how the process works, what the benefits are to you/the earth, and much more. Wondering what you can throw in your compost? Take a peek at this awesome list I found on pinterest.
*Note: If you're new to composting, be sure to check with local code enforcement authorities to be sure that composting is allowed in your municipality! Some towns and cities have different regulations from others.*
Now that you are a little more familiar with composting, I'm going to teach you how to build your very own DIY outdoor composter. I based my plans off of a design by Practically Functional, and altered it to work with what I needed. Take note that my composter is slightly smaller than Practically Functional's plan and I did not use the same roofing material to save on costs.
Here's what I used for this project:
- 2 x 4 x 8 wood planks (9) - cut into various sizes
- 1 x 3 x 8 wood planks (quantity 3) - cut into various sizes
- galvanized wood deck screws 8 x 2 1/2 (quantity 1 lb box)
- small "L" brackets (also called a corner iron) 2inch (quantity 4)
- large "L" brackets (also called a corner iron) 2 1/2inch (quantity 8)
- small wood screws 6 x 1/2 (quantity 30-60 package of screws)
- butt hinges (quantity 3)
- small wood screws with large head and short length for hinges (quantity 8)
- hook and eye 1 1/2 (quantity 3 sets)
- chicken wire/metal wire with small holes (quantity 2-3 rolls)
- staple gun and staples
- drill/drill bit
- measuring tape
Plans via Practically Functional
Step 1 : Shop for supplies!
Attempt to fit it into the Rav4: Success!
Step 2: Build!
Cut the 2 x 4 x 8 wood into 18 pieces at 2 1/2 feet each (30 inches.)
Once you have all the pieces cut, lay them out into perfect squares using six planks each. You should have three identical squares.
This will form one side of the composter. Repeat this step two more times so that you have a total of three sides that look just like this.
Once you have all three sides assembled, put them together in a cube-like shape using the galvanized wood deck screws with the vertical boards facing IN. (This is very important later on when you want to attach your metal wire to the wood.)
Then, cut boards for the top and bottom of the three sides to finish off the main structure:
- 4 pieces of wood for the left and right sides (33 inches each)
- 2 pieces of wood for the back side (22 7/8inches each)
Screw all the cut boards in to the top and bottom.
Now that the structure of the composter is underway, the next portion of this project is to assemble the doors for the top and the front.
For the front, cut the 1 x 3 x 8 wood planks into:
- 2 pieces of 29 ½
- 2 pieces of 18 ½
Make a rectangle out of the wood squares. On the back, secure the wood with staples.
On the front (opposite sides of the staples) secure the "L" brackets (also called corner irons) with the small wood screws.
To complete the top, attach a piece of the metal wiring to the wood using your staple gun. All the mesh is used to help keep the critters away!
For the lid/top of the composter, follow the same process, but use different dimensions and cut the 1 x 3 x 8 wood planks into:
- 2 pieces of 28 ½ using the 1 x 3 x 8 wood planks
- 2 pieces of 29 ½ using the 1 x 3 x 8 wood planksAfter you have the doors assembled, secure the wire to the inside of the composter. Make sure there are no gaps. Again, this will prevent from unwanted critters coming and sneaking a bite of your compost.
On the front of the composter, attach:
- 1 piece of 29 ½ using the 1 x 3 x 8 wood planks
- 1 piece of 29 ½ using the 2 x 4 x 8 wood planks
Step 3: Assemble!
Now its time to attach your hinges! In the center of the 1 x 3 wood plank, attach one hinge for the door.
Using the hook and eyes, you will provide a way to keep the door secure and closed without letting any unwanted visitors in.
To attach the hook and eyes, use your screwdriver and drill bit to drill parallel holes slightly smaller than the screws on the eye and hook into the wood.
Then, screw in your eye and hook. Repeat the same steps for the lid of the composter using two hinges and one eye and hook set.
Good luck with your composting quest and as always, remember to reclaim, reuse and upcycle!
Do you have a question on a certain step of this process? Have a question about composting? Just ask! Visit your local Valu Home Centerand speak to our knowledgeable Associates about your latest DIY project.