Making a water butt out of a dustbin

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
9 replies 13.7K views
Savannah02KSavannah02K Forumite
307 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hope someone can help me on this one. My local council has just gone from 'proper' dustbins to wheelie bins, leaving the old bins in place. they've suggested converting the bins to water butts and as I've just this year started growing my own veg, I'd like to do this. Trouble is, I have no clue how to go about it. Do I just leave the lid off the dustbin, let rain water collect in there and use as and when (won't it get stagnant and no good for the veggies in pots?) or should I make it into one of those that takes water from the drainpipe that comes down the wall? Sorry, but completely non DIY-y. Got an electric drill and not afraid to use it though!


  • This could give you a few ideas.

    Depending on wheter you want to spend any money you could buy a diverter from any DIY store, fit it to your drain pipe and modify your bin for it to connect.
  • WookeyWookey Forumite
    812 Posts
    Best to collect water rather than hope it fills up by leaving the lid of, there are several ways to connect it to your downspouts depending on how much water you think you will need. You can use it to connect a pressure washer to for car washing and path/driveway washing to as well as garden/veg watering. If you think you could use a lot of water or you expect prolonged dry spells you can "marry" 2 or more butts/bins together to give you increased storage and dependent on your gardens layout you can have them piped on "down the back" for very little cost by using plastic plumbing waste pipe. Every 1000 litres you collect and use is 1 less cubic metre you pay for in your water bill.
    Norn Iron Club member No 353
  • alanobrienalanobrien Forumite
    3.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
    Depends how far you want to go with it. You could just leave the lid off and let it fill out in the open then scoop out the water but its not very efficient.
    You could just stand it on bricks and get a cheap little tap such as this one.
    You could also connect it to a down pipe to collect water which would be most efficient, one like this would do.
    But both these require you to cut holes, one into the bin and the other into the downpipe. This is quite easy if you have some idea of DIY.

    One other alternative, have you spoken to your local water company or council to enquire whether they sell subsidised water butts as many do ?

    If you obtained a "real one" then you could use the bin for growing spuds. Just a thought.
  • squacksquack Forumite
    633 Posts
    yes if you are confident drilling a hole in it .. you can buy the water butt taps from diy/garden centres, otherwise just dunk your watering can in as and when required to fill it up. the lid on the wheely bin will keep the light out to stop algae forming and prevent mosquito type larvae breeding in the water. check with your local council or water provider to see if its worth it though because some subsidise butts to encourage us to recycle water, and your wheely bin maybe better used as a compost bin or worm farm
    squaaaaaaaaacccckkkkkk!!!! :money:
  • I live near High Wycombe and I have a water butt that I don't want, if you're close, pm me and come and pick it up! Save you the hassle. I also have lots of 5gallon barrels if anyone is interested.
  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
    9.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    One thing to bear in mind is how you are going to collect the water from your filled water butt. If you look at the commercial ones, they are either on legs or come with a "box" on which to stand so that with the tap at the bottom of the water butt there is sufficient height to put a watering can underneath the tap. It's better to think about this aspect before the water butt is full of water, as otherwise the only way of removing water will be to either attach a hosepipe connector to the tap or lift the lid and dunk the watering can inside until it is full of water. It will then be far too heavy to be able to lift out easily. So resolve this problem first.
  • C_MababejiveC_Mababejive Forumite
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    Doesnt all rain that falls in England belong to the relevant water authority? i.e would you be pinching their water?
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
  • tim_ntim_n Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    C_Mababejive on the basis that a staggering 50% of potable water is lost through leaky pipes in my area, I don't think they'd care about a bin load. I don't believe that's the case and anyway they encourage you to collect rainwater for watering the garden with as this encourages you not to use drinking water on the flowers.

    When drilling a plastic bin, you need to use a slow speed drill. I used a wood bit to drill mine and did it slowly. It's best to put a bit of masking tape over where you're drilling so that the plastic doesn't tear up. Saying that, I just got the drill, found a good looking place and drilled away.

    Metal bins will require you to use a HSS metal bit, and you'll probably have to drill several times around the area of the tap and then you'll need to file it into a circle.

    It's much easier and quicker to dip your watering can into the bin however, and much cheaper too.

    My bin is stuck on top of two old tyres, free from the local garage filled with compacted mud and stone for stability. It has fish in it too which keep the flying nasties down. If you're doing that, be aware that you don't scoop up the fish when you're filling your watering can unless you use a tap!
  • tsstss7tsstss7 Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    One thing to be aware of when using a water butt though is the possible danger to local wildlife and children.

    I found a dead rat in my water butt last year and felt terrible as I had not even consisdered that something could get in and then not be able to get out again. I now either cover the butt or place a long stick/branch inside so that winter rain doesn't incur more casulties.
    ds1 nov 1997
    ds2 nov 2007
    First DD
    First DD born in june:beer:.
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