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Thomas Arey has contributed 12 projects to the pages of MAKE over the years, the majority of them having to do with salvaging parts and using reclaimed materials. His latest offering is the modest but clever Trash Can Composter, repurposing the trash can itself. Commercial composting canisters can be expensive, but spend an hour or less drilling holes in an old trash can, and you can compost to your heart’s content.

From the pages of MAKE Volume 31:

MAKE Volume 31The maker movement is making science exciting again. Just as punk rock took music back from the supergroups and big studios, “punk scientists” are making inexpensive new tools to conduct real experiments in garages, schools, and hackerspaces. In MAKE Volume 31, you’ll learn how to make DIY laboratory equipment, create high-voltage sparks from falling water, control a cockroach electronically, get started in biotech, and more.


Goli Mohammadi

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at [email protected] or via @snowgoli.

  • Thebes

    Very interesting, but one of the common features of a commercial composter is some means to stir the compost. Without that, especially in a dry climate, the exterior compost will often simply dry out rather than rot. Turning a compost bin by hand with a pitchfork is a rather nasty and messy chore.

    • Jerry Carter

      Thebes – that was my first thought as well, then I realized it’s a trash can. It has a nice handle on top and a recess on the bottom for gripping and with some creative bungee cording, the lid can stay on while you carefully tip it over, end over end.

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