Making Kitchen Compost Containers Of All Sizes

Posted on Feb 26 2010 - 5:22am by Mike Lieberman

Now that I’ve figured out a way to compost in my kitchen without worms, I’ve started to pack as many containers as I can to make compost.

I found an empty container of cat litter on the sidewalk that I brought home and filled. I’ve also had my roommate keep his coffee containers and have begun to use them as well.

More food scraps were added to the original container, but didn’t want it to get too heavy to shake around. This is why I started new ones.

A scoop of old potting soil was added to the bottom of each of them, the blended food scraps were added and then covered with a bit more soil and shredded newspaper.

They were then set off to the side out of the way and are going to be to shaken up every few days. I should have fresh compost in a few weeks. Little hassle and easy to maintain.

This is something that anyone can do and it can be scaled up or down to your needs. I’m not stopping here. I plan to start many more.

When are you getting started on yours?

20 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. lauryann February 26, 2010 at 9:57 pm -

    This is great!! I am SO happy I found this site! So, you don't use worms and it still creates compost? And you get NO stench in your kitchen??? I REALLY need to start doing this, I want to make sure I am doing it correctly.

    I was a little intimidated by the worms, so afraid my cat would end up knocking something over when he discovered I had worms in the house, what a mess that would make! So its great to see I can do it this way?? Any other tips you can give a new compost–er?

  2. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm -

    Word. Glad that you found the site. I've failed with the worm composting a few times. Killed a few thousand or so. By doing it this way, the only stench is when you open the container, which you can do when you are filling it up. It only lasts a few seconds. If there is a stank, then just add more soil or newspaper shreds to balance it out. As long as the cover is securely on, there ain't no stank.

    The other tip that I would give is to blend up the food scraps as much as possible and stay away from pits. Blending will help to quicken the decomposition. Keep your food scraps in a separate container for the week, then dump them all in the compost at once.

    Lemme know how it goes.

  3. lauryann February 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm -

    Thanks! OK, so I keep blended food scraps in a container by itself, OUT of the fridge for a couple days before adding it to soil/ newspaper? I am nervous!!

  4. Mike Lieberman March 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm -

    Layer it soil/newspaper, food scraps, soil/newspaper. If you are nervous about smell use more soil/newspaper than food scraps. You can keep the food scraps in or out of the fridge. That's your call. I keep mine out of the fridge.

  5. Ocean_of_sheep January 7, 2011 at 9:10 am -

    Hi I recently started to grow edible plants in my garden and then found your awesome blog. I’d like to ask for the smaller containers that you use for compost, do you need to drill holes at the bottom as well?

  6. Mike Lieberman January 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm -

    These I did not drill holes into the bottom. I just shook them up every other day or so. You will have to drain them out though and they might have a stench, but you can use that drain liquid in your garden as well.

  7. Manure Tea Gardening February 6, 2011 at 12:28 am -

    WOOT-WOOT you be making Dirt : ) gotta love it don’t forget to add a little Moo Poo Tea in it for moisture and to speed up the breakdown of your organic matter Annie

  8. Meemsnyc February 6, 2011 at 6:10 am -


  9. baltimoregardener April 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm -

    How do you know when the compost is done? what should the soil look like (should I no see the newspapers?)

  10. Mike Lieberman April 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm -

    It should smell fresh and crumble in your hands. Should have an earthy smell to it. You should not see any newspaper in it.

  11. Casey December 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm -

    i live in  a tiny apt. in the middle of winter an wanna compost!  please explain this to me in more detail please?! I also wanna start a laarge style window garned! Take any advise you can offer!!!

  12. Casey December 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm -

    I as sorry. large style window garden i ment to say

  13. Mike Lieberman December 19, 2011 at 7:52 am -

    It’s all explained in this post. Going to be a doing a lot more indoor composting in the coming year, so be on the lookout for that info. This method worked out, but need something more efficient. 

  14. SMG April 1, 2012 at 3:12 am -

    What about the inks in newspaper?  Safe?

  15. Mike Lieberman April 1, 2012 at 7:18 am -

    What are you looking for me to explain?

  16. Mike Lieberman April 1, 2012 at 7:18 am -

    Some say yes and some say no. Go with what feels comfortable to you.

  17. Nicbow1978 July 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm -

    I have one of those compost buckets (with holes and filter in the top) that are typically used to hold scraps before  going to an outdoor compost. I thought about starting an outdoor compost heap but I rent and likely not staying here long term. 

    The can is not really large (1 quart/3.8 Litres) but then, I only have 2 flowerbeds going at the moment (and not a really large family). Could I use this container? Would mostly be coffee grounds and some fruit/veggie scraps….

    Do I need compost manure or something to start with? I just put in some grounds, and egg shell and a bit of banana peel. Added some top soil (just bought and put in flower bed a week or two ago, then added some shredded paper towel/coffee filter (all I had…didn’t retrieve any paper from the recycle bin before pick up this morning) and mixed it all together (with a bit of water so it would not be totally dry). Will this work? How long does it take?

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