Make a Worm Bin

We are apartment dwellers. Urban apartment dwellers doing our very best to live lightly on this earth. Aside from reducing the trash we produce by being cognizant of what we buy, we also try to reduce the amount that hits the bin by composting our food waste.




Do these things really go together? Sure they do! If you have a worm bin! While you can buy some fancy systems and set-ups, you really only need a few things to make one of your own.


  • 2 – 70 quart rubbermaid tubs, one with a lid
  • Power drill with small and large bits
  • Bedding
  • Water
  • Red Wiggler Worms
  • Food Scraps


  • Buy your two rubbermaid tubs. You’ll only need one of the lids.

  • Using a larger drill bit, drill bunches of holes through the lid of the tub. There needs to be plenty of circulation.

  • With the larger bit, again, drill a line of holes about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of one of the tubs. This will be the bottom tub and will be used to catch any drainage. The holes will help the drainage vent and evaporate, though you will have to empty this bottom tub from time-to-time.

  • On the second tub, the one without any holes yet, use a small drill bit to cover the bottom of the tub with drainage holes. You’ll want the holes to be big enough to allow moisture to pass without encouraging the worms to escape. I used the smallest bit in our set and made lots of holes.

  • Nest the two tubs. On the bottom is the drainage tub with the line of holes around the bottom, next is the tub with all the holes on the bottom, then the lid with holes goes on top.

  • Fill the tub with bedding. You can use shredded newspaper, egg cartons, paper grocery sacks, dried leaves. Stay away from shiny and glossy papers, worms don’t like those!

  • Moisten the bedding. You don’t want it to be sopping wet, you don’t want it to be dry. Remember, you can always add a little more water later.

  • Add food scraps to one side of the bin. I feed our worms all the food scraps we’ve collected on a weekly basis, alternating sides. This works for us. You’ll find a system that works for your family. Here’s a nice list of things that worms like and don’t like.

  • Bury the food scraps with the bedding and add the worms. You can order red wigglers online. I used worms from our other worm bin. With the amount of composting we do we are switching from a one-bin system to a two-bin system. The worms will expand and reproduce to respond to the amount of food waste you give them. Each week that I do a feed, I am always amazed to find that they really have, in fact, eaten our garbage.

Not only is this a really great way to compost in an apartment-setting; it isn’t stinky, honest. It is also a really fun way to let toddlers explore and investigate. Ewan is fascinated when he comes with to feed the worms and loves to check out the happenings. I’m really looking forward to watching him become even more involved as he grows and looking forward to the many conversations we’ll have about how the whole thing works.

  • MilwifeMamaofOne

    Thank you so much for this post! It was perfect timing for us – we’re currently looking into composting options. We live in the Tokyo area in an apartment with a small (and very full of grills and garden) balcony. I was wondering where you keep your worm bin. Do you have any experience with smaller bins? If it’s outside, then how do you deal with weather changes? Is the 70-qt. tub too big, too small, or just right for the amount of “worm food” your family generates? We have a 2-adult, 1-toddler, 1-dog home right now and trying to decide on the best size for composting/worm bin. If you get a chance to answer any of these questions I’d be much obliged – thanks!


  • Heather P

    When I volunteered at the science museum in Prince George we kept a bin of worms to feed to our frogs and fish. They’re really useful for feeding because there are smaller or bigger worms for whatever needs feeding. So if you ever come across any tadpoles…


  • SM

    The worms do not like light, in fact they crawl away from light. A successful worm bin should be made of an opaque material not translucent. You will have more success with dark plastic (black, blue, gray) that does not allow light to enter the worm bin.


    Anonymous Reply:

    You are absolutely right about the light!

    Since we always store our bin under the sink cabinet or in our basement the clear plastic has always worked well and allowed us to get some cool views!


  • Angeleah Constanza

    Cool, thanks for sharing your knowledge in making a Worm Bin. I like your Idea so much and I agree with what SM was saying that “You will have more success with dark plastic” this maybe more effective.


  • Nita L. Young

    Sound so cool! A successful worm bin should be made of an opaque material not translucent. But anyway thanks for the nice tips that you shared. I will try to make one at home.

    you can visit me here


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