Building a Compost Bin with Old Wood Pallets

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Used wood pallets
Mesh or chicken wire
Staple gun

If you have a yard or a garden, you have plant debris. If you have a kitchen, you have kitchen scraps. Rather than let it go to waste, build a compost bin to create the ultimate plant food. Compost consists of decomposed plant matter and is excellent as a soil supplement and fertilizer. You can build a shipping pallet compost bin from recycled wood for a minimal expense.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Kathy Bosin adds, "In order to create a working compost pile, you need plant materials, green and brown, mixed in a pile that is at least 3 ft. high by 3 ft. wide by 3 ft. deep. Make sure you place your compost pile in a location where you can remove the walls to get in and turn the pile using a shovel or fork. Decomposition occurs faster when you turn the pile regularly."

Step 1 - Lay the Foundation

Pick an appropriate spot for the bin and lay down 1 pallet as a floor. This will keep your compost up off the ground and allow for better air circulation.

Step 2 - Line the Pallets

On the side that will be inside the bin, line the pallets (including the floor) with chicken wire to protect your compost from rabbits, rats and other animals that may attempt to get to it. Staple the mesh in place.

Step 3 - Secure the Bin Walls

Stand 4 pallets on end, lined up with 4 sides of the floor pallet, to create the walls of the compost bin. Secure the standing pallets to each other with 2 hinges at each outside corner. Don't worry if the pallets don't swing like doors. Instead, you'll remove the hinge pins to move the pallets and access the pile.

Any homeowner who has a yard or a garden has plant debris. Rather than let it go to waste or pay to have it hauled away, consider building a compost bin from used materials to store your plant waste. Compost consists of decomposed plant matter and is excellent as a soil supplement and fertilizer.

A pallet compost bin can be constructed from recycled wood for a minimal expense. Before you begin construction on your compost bin, decide how large you would like your bin to be. The average garden and lawn produce enough compostable material to fill a bin two to three feet on a side.

Materials for Building a Wood Pallet Compost Bin

When you have decided how large your compost bin will be, collect the following materials:

  • Used wood pallets (approximately 15, 3 pallets per side for 5 sides)
  • Hammer and nails
  • Various latches
  • Mesh or chicken wire

Steps for Constructing a Compost Bin

Nail 2 or 3 pallets together, one on top of the other, to create one wall of the compost bin. Repeat this step three more times, ensuring that each wall is the same size. The boards should be close together to prevent animals from entering or tampering with the compost in the bin.

You may choose to cut a small square from the bottom of one of your walls and latch a solid board to the hole in order to create a door to access the compost. The material at the base of your compost bin will be the richest and most beneficial to the soil. You may also use a shovel to reach the compost at the bottom of the bin if you would prefer.

Ensure that your compost bin walls are in the area where you would like to keep your bin. Stand the walls on end and latch the outer corners to secure them in place. The walls should be able to stand on their own.

Line the inside of your compost bin with wire mesh or chicken wire to protect your compost from rabbits, rats and other animals that may attempt to get in to the bin.

Use the remaining wood pallets to create a top for the bin. The top should cover the compost bin completely to best protect the compost inside. You may either latch the top of the bin onto one of the standing walls or secure it to the top of the bin using rope or string. Make sure that the top of the bin is firmly attached to the side walls to protect your compost against hungry animals.

You may need to support the walls of your bin with extra boards as you fill the compost bin. This will prevent the bin from breaking under the weight and pressure of the compost inside.

A wood pallet compost bin is cheap and easy to construct, and it will help to provide compost material that is rich in nutrients for your lawn and garden. For further help constructing a compost bin, consult your local home improvement store.