How to Build a Compost Bin Using Pallets

Wooden pallets are an excellent size to use for building a compost bin.
Wooden pallets are an excellent size to use for building a compost bin. (Image: boxes and pallets image by timur1970 from

Building a compost bin with pallets is a great way to reuse and recycle wooden pallets that would otherwise end up in the trash. Many local businesses receive their inventory on these wooden pallets and are willing to give them to you for free. The pallets are usually the right size for building a compost bin, and the spaces between the slats of the pallets allows the compost inside to breathe. According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, compost bins should ideally measure 3 to 5 square feet.

Things You'll Need

  • Five wooden pallets with 1/2- to 1-inch slat spacing
  • Twistable wire

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Lay one pallet flat on the ground. This will be your base. You will need to replace it by laying a new pallet on top every two years.

Place the remaining four pallets on their sides around the one pallet on the ground, forming a bin. You will need to replace the sides every five years.

Fasten the pallets forming the sides to each other with wire.

Add compost material at a green/brown ratio of 2:1. The greens produce the necessary nitrogen and the browns produce the necessary carbon to keep the compost pile healthy.

Maintain the bin at a constant dampness. It should be slightly moist, but not wet.

Tips & Warnings

  • As an alternative to the wire, you can use rope, or even wire coat hangers that you can twist, to hold the side pallets together.
  • You can easily increase the number of bins by adding more pallet sides and a pallet base. With nine pallets, you will be able to build a two-bin compost system. Each extra bin you want will require four additional pallets.
  • Do not build near wooden buildings and fences.
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