Wood pallets are a good size for constructing compost bins because compost piles work best when the pile of debris is about 4 feet square. Pallets are available free from smaller retail stores, which receive deliveries on them and often have no way to store them or dispose of them. Most stores will be happy to have you haul the pallets away.
Things You'll Need
- Nails or screws
- Hammer or screwdriver
- Work gloves
- Bolts or latches
- L brackets
Check with small shops in your area. Try pet shops, small hardware stores, garden stores, small groceries and corporate offices. You can also find free pallets on craigslist.org, in the classified advertising section of your local community newspapers or just by looking for them as you drive around town.
Choose a site that's convenient, a key factor in composting success. You won't want to trundle your kitchen waste and yard debris to an inconvenient or distant location. To make the bins less noticeable, place them behind evergreen shrubs or behind a garage. An advantage of using pallets is that they make a good-sized compost bin that is easy to dump a wheelbarrow into.
Level the ground where the bin will go. Form three of the pallets into three sides of a square, standing the pallets on their edges, matching heights and putting the sturdiest edges down. Use wire to hold the pallets together while you screw or nail them together. For greater strength, use L brackets at the top and bottom. Make two bins and place them side by side so you have one bin for fresh debris, and can turn half-finished compost into the second bin to finish.
You can add a door to each bin with a fourth pallet. Set the fourth pallet on a couple of bricks to hold it off the ground while you work to attach it to the three-pallet bin with two hinges on the left side and a latch on the right. For a removable door, install eye-gate latches or bolt latches to each of the four corners of the fourth pallet and the front of the bin. For a floor, lay down a solid piece of wood, old carpet or four layers of cardboard. A floor helps discourage tree roots from growing up into your compost.
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