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How to Make a $10 Composter

Learn how to make an easy compost bin for less than $10 from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. From our collection of Kitchen Makeover videos.

Thu, 4 Jun 2009|

Hey, I'm Evette Rios, Rachael's design buddy and I'm here in a kitchen that I recently made over. And I'm gonna show you guys how to make your own composter. Because listen to this, this is something I didn't know, when you throw your food away in the trash, it ends up in a landfill and it does not turn into nice fertile soil. Instead, it just rots there because there's no oxygen, and it's not being turned. So in this kitchen, I actually installed this really cool composter. And how this works is you pull it out like this, you stick your food in the top and then it turns into soil here, in the bottom, in about 2 weeks. Something like this, although its super cool, will set you back about a couple $100. But I'm gonna show you how to make your own composter for less than $10. Creating your own under $10 composter is super duper easy. What you want to do is you wanna start out with a container like this one, that's got a nice tight sealing lid on it, and something about 24 inches tall, that's a really good size to get started. And then you're gonna layer it with newspaper, a little soil, and then start adding your food. Super duper easy. So, here's how we get started, so I've already made some holes in the top of my lid using a drill, I'll show you guys how to do that. But now, you need to make some holes in the bottom. You wanna make sure you make about 8 to 10 holes in the top and in the bottom, that's very important because it keeps the air flowing and it makes sure that the food that you put inside decomposes just right. So I've got my cordless drill here and I've got about a quarter inch bit in there, that's the perfect size to make the holes you need. So I'm gonna start over here. Okay, so, you know what, if you don't have an electric drill like this which everybody should coz they're super handy. But if you don't happen to have one, you can always make holes in plastic by taking a nice thick nail and warming it up with either a lighter or candle to get it nice and hot. And then you can pop it through the plastic, and you'll make beautiful holes like this without having a cordless drill. So I'm gonna flip it over, and then my first layer, the layer that goes down at the bottom is actually going to be newspapers. So I just took regular newspapers and cut em into strips and I'm just gonna layer it down at the bottom. You can add newspapers, a great way to get it started is with leaves also if you happen to have leaves that you've raked up, go ahead and throw those at the bottom. And you're gonna fill this up about a quarter of the way with all of your newspaper and leaves and things like that. So once you've got that layered in, I've got some little rubber gloves here, if you don't happen to have gloves, you can always use a trowel or some sort of little garden tool to scoop in some soil. And you can use soil from your garden or if you don't happen to have soil, you can always buy a bag of potting soil like I have here. And what you're gonna do is you're just gonna layer in some of the potting soil on top of your newspaper. There we go, and now I'm just gonna kinda smooth it out so it covers up all of our newspaper. Like that. And now you're gonna grab your garbage bowl from your kitchen that has any leftover food, bread, eggshells, and just kinda toss it in there. When you're composting, you wanna remember you really don't wanna include acidic foods like lemons, limes, things like that. Those you can just toss away coz that's doesn't really make for good compost. And you're just gonna mix it in like this, and then I'm gonna add just a little bit of water just to make sure that the soil is nice and moist. You don't wanna add too much coz that will make it a little stinky, so you just wanna add a little bit. And then, as you're adding food, you know once you've cleaned out your garbage bowl at the end of the day. You wanna make sure you add it to your compost and just sort of mix it around. And you'll know when your compost is ready when it all looks like this beautiful soil with very little chunks, then you're ready to take it out. Make sure you'll leave the chunks behind because those still need some time to biodegrade. So you put your lid on and you wanna make sure you store this in a cool, dry place like a garage or on a patio. Don't put this on the direct sun, and there you go, a quick, affordable way that you can do your part to help the environment. Thank you so much for watching