Make Your Own Inexpensive Organic Waste Digester

Home-made Back Yard Orgainic Waste Digester

It’s very easy to make your own organic waste digester for use in your backyard or garden. All you need is a garbage can and a few basic tools. For this digester I used a Rubbermaid Roughneck 20 Gal/77 L garbage can (Rubbermaid Can, 20-Gallon, Black ). I think it will serve the purpose well.

The tools I used were:

  • electric jigsaw
  • power drill with ½” bit
  • shovel

I started by turning the garbage can upside down and using the jigsaw to cut a large circle out of the bottom. I went as close to the edges as I could given the structure of the bottom of the can. The jigsaw cut through the plastic with ease.

After that, I took the drill and inserted the largest drill bit I had handy. I drilled holes around the circumference of the bottom where plastic remained. Each hole was about 1.5″ / 4cm apart. I also drilled holes along the side of the can about 1.5″/ 4cm up from the bottom to provide even more places for microorganisms and insects to access the contents of the digester.

The next step is the digging of the hole. I picked a location in the yard that has reasonable drainage and gets moderate sunlight. I could have picked a location that has more sun but I also wanted it to be discreet. I didn’t need it to be the first thing you see in the yard.

I made a hole about 18″ / 0.5 meters deep and a bit wider than the bin. Then the bin was placed in the middle of the hole and dirt that was dug up was used to fill in the remaining space around the outside of the bin.


A home-made organic waste digester is simple to make. The entire project took only about 20 minutes and will digest all of our families organic kitchen waste for many years without any maintenance.

What I may do differently if I make another:

2. I could have drilled more holes but I think this will be sufficient. If the contents of the barrel is slower to digest than in my previous digester versions then I’ll know that I should have spent the extra time to drill more or larger holes.

3. I may consider a larger bin. We’ll see if this one fills up quicker than it digests.

Here are a few images of the bin both before being placed in the whole and after.

digester-before-wm digester-in-hole-3-wm digester-in-hole-wm digester-in-hole-zoom-wm digester-in-hole-2-wm



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