Composting is a convenient way to reduce wastage, recycle kitchen scraps, and obtain affordable manure for your garden. But if you do it carelessly, you can encourage pests and spread diseases. DIY compost bin pallets are a popular recycling idea so let’s learn more.
1. Ten-Minute DIY Compost Bin from Pallets – Real Farmhouse
Pallets are used to protect furniture, fruits, and other items when they’re being shipped. Most companies don’t need them after delivery, so talk to local warehouses, grocery stores, and importers. Many will sell you the pallets on the cheap or even give them to you for free.
Grab four pallets of the same size and link three of them at right angles (90°) using zip ties. Leave the fourth side open to form a swinging door. Place the wooden box at your chosen composting spot and start filling it with organic waste. The ventilation will help it all rot.
2. How to Make an Easy DIY Compost Bin from Pallet Timber
This next design comes from the Ultimate Recycler. And he takes his lifestyle so seriously that he even reuses his nails! You can extract these from reclaimed wood using a hammer and lots of elbow grease. But be careful not to hurt yourself on those rusty bits of iron.
It may also be helpful to get a tetanus shot, just in case. You may scrape your skin on the corroded metal and not notice until you get a fever. Instead of using the pallets as they are (with gaps), you’ll dismantle and reassemble them so they’re more tightly packed in the bin.
3. DIY Pallet Compost Bin – Compost Magazine
The simplest way to make a pallet compost bin is to link four of them using screws, brackets, or hinges. You can use non-toxic paint or wood stain. Pallets have built-in slats so when you use them for composting, air can circulate freely to maximize the speed of decomposition.
But those gaps also mean rotting smells can easily get out and spread. And since the bin loses heat quickly, your compost will slow down in winter. Try wrapping a waterproof plastic sheet around the bin to insulate it. Place the bin far from the house to manage unwanted aromas.
4. Build a Simple Compost Bin for Free – Why Waste
Compost bins aren’t just for kitchen waste. You can load them with fallen leaves in the fall – just direct your leaf blower toward the bin! Or you can add the trimmings from your lawnmower. You can even get cardboard packaging from nearby retailers and grocery stores.
Also, while a four-sided bin seems logical, you can make a three-sided one. It’s useful for landscapers and gardeners that have regular loads and don’t want to bother swinging the gate. Use a power drill to screw the three sides into place and leave the fourth side open.
5. DIY Pallet Compost Bin – Farm Life DIY
Since pallets are sourced from shipping crates, some of them are branded. They may have various initials to indicate what they carried, what they’re made of, or how the wood was treated to reduce rot. IPPC, HT, EPAL, DB, and KD are all safe options for compost pallets.
Wood treatments include heat, pressure, or kiln-drying. But if it says MB, it was chemically treated with a methyl bromid pesticide which could leach into your compost. To avoid the drama of moving a heavy bin, preselect your composting spot and assemble the bin there.
6. Make a Free Compost Bin in Your Garden – Sandy Bottom
We’ve mentioned some wood pallet treatment initials above, but you might want more details. These treatments are meant to help the wood survive shipping by reducing its susceptibility to pests, fungi, mold, and rot. This is mostly done by eliminating moisture.
DB means debarked. HT means heat-treated and KD means kiln-dried. EPAL means Euro-pallet. It has 78 nails, KD-HT patterned wood, and was used for railroad cargo. IPPC means International Plant Protection Convention and is kiln-dried for half an hour at 133°F (56°C).
7. How to Build a Compost Bin – BBC Gardeners
Pallets come in different types including blocks, stringers, and wings. So the kind of DIY compost bin you build depends on the size and shape of your crates. Remember to insulate the sides by covering them with plastic sheeting, cardboard, wool, carpeting, rugs, or straw.
You can use these same materials to make a lid for the bin. This stops pests from getting out and pets from diving in! If the bin feels flimsy, dig a few wooden stakes through the vertical gaps in the pallets. This will keep the compost bin secure in the ground and stop it from tipping.
8. How to Make a Compost Bin Using Free Wood Pallets – Jay Black
Four-sided pallets are popular because not everyone wants to look at rotting trash. On the other hand, it can be cumbersome to keep opening and closing the door when you have huge loads of kitchen scraps and garden waste. A happy middle ground? Build half a fourth wall.
You won’t need extra hands to open the door on your way in since you can toss the trash over the mini-wall. And since the densest garbage juice sinks to the bottom of your DIY compost bin pallets, you’ll reduce your exposure to that eyesore. Just be careful not to spill the trash!
9. How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Used Wood Pallets
As we’ve just mentioned, the type of pallet you obtain can influence the design of your compost bin. So if the gaps between the slats are too large, you can dismantle some of your extra pallets. Use the planks of wood to fill those gaping spaces and compact your compost.
Also, while you don’t want wood with pesticides or toxic treatments, you do want wood that’s been protected against rot. Otherwise, the timber slats will decompose and dissolve into the compost, the manure will spread into a mushy mess, and you’ll still have to build a new bin!
10. Make Compost in 30 Days Using Pallet Wood Bins – Backyard Gardener
How long does it take before you have usable manure in your DIY compost bin pallets? If you do it right, you’ll be set in 4 to 6 weeks! And if you don’t want to use hammers or power tools, you can join your pallets with rubber bands, bungee cords, zip ties, strong strings, or ropes.
Load everything at once for faster compost formation. Blend kitchen scraps into a slurry and run your lawnmower over leaves and grass so the bits are smaller and rot faster. Add water between layers, aiming for a spongy consistency. Turn the pile once a week for 30 to 45 days.
11. Easy Compost Bin from Wooden Pallets – Garden Ninja
You already know your DIY compost bin is a banquet for worms, maggots, and bacteria. But you probably don’t mind because they help enrich your pile. But what about rats and other rodents? You don’t want them setting up shop in your premium garbage box. Here’s an idea.
To keep the nibblers out, lay some chicken wire or fine hardware cloth at the bottom of the bin. Secure it before you construct the bin so they can’t burrow their way in. And once your bin is complete, wrap similar metal grids around the wood so rodents can’t access the sides.
12. Easy to DIY Compost Bin Using Wood Pallets – Lovely Greens
As a general rule, the bigger your compost pile, the hotter it gets and the faster it rots. This seems counterintuitive because small loads should decompose faster, right? In reality, mini compost bins that use plastic containers take a lot longer to turn from raw garbage to mulch.
But the size of your compost bin will also depend on the amount of trash your household can generate. Especially since it’s not advisable to use fish, meat, dairy, or pet waste. So if you’re only making a small DIY pallet compost bin, just use a clothesline or twine to join the sides.
13. Flowering DIY Pallet Compost Bin – Bob Vila
Most people scoop out bits of used compost to nurture their gardens. But some folk prefer to plant directly in the compost bin. This can be messy to harvest so you won’t necessarily eat the binned plants. But once they sprout, you know the manure is nutritious and ready to use.
An alternative is to plant colorful flowers or creepers in the bin. They make the bin prettier, attract pollinators, and improve the smell. To make the compost flowerbed easier to manage, install a planter on top of the bin, or nail burlap plant sacks in the gaps between the pallets.
14. Pallet Compost Bins – Joe Simple
When you’re constructing a DIY compost bin with pallets, you can pre-dig a trench before you position the pallets. This can help the bin stand steadily on the ground. It’s not necessary though, since hinges, brackets, and screws can make it sturdy enough to support its weight.
Since compost rots best in direct sunlight, you can install a lid of clear corrugated plastic over the bin. This builds up the temperature in your compost while retaining its moisture content and preventing excess rain, snow, or unwanted precipitation from entering your pile.
15. How to Make a Compost Bin from Pallets – Grow Veg
We’ve already mentioned it’s smart to erect your DIY compost bin pallet on-site. Moving it after it’s complete is exhausting, and it can break apart in the process! But as you pick its location, make sure it’s in direct sunlight, close to a water source, but far from the house.
The materials in the bin will need heat to decompose, so placing them in a shade isn’t smart. And since you’ll need to water the bin once or twice a week, having a distant water source is just extra work. Also, ensure the ground beneath the bin is well-drained to avoid stagnating.
16. How to Make the Most Effective Compost Bins from Pallets
So far, we’ve looked at some pretty basic barebones DIY pallet compost bins. All you had to do was stand them up and screw or tie them together. But what if you want to up your game? This design has solid walls made by wrapping vinyl over the pallets on three sides of the bin.
Alternatively, nailed plywood walls can be stained or painted black to keep them classy. But make sure the coloring agent is non-toxic to avoid contaminating your organic manure. The risk is reduced air circulation, so the front side will remain gapped to keep the bin ventilated.
17. How to Make a Pallet Compost Bin Using Free Shipping Pallets
You may have heard of cold composting and hot composting … what’s that about? The main difference is size and time. Hot compost piles build up heat through decomposition and can get up to 140°F or 60°C. To get this hot they have to be larger than 1m2 or at least 3 x 3 feet.
If the bin is smaller than that, it’s a cold compost pit and your manure takes a year or more before it’s usable. The average wood pallet is 4 x 4 feet so you should be fine for hot compost. Also, adding meat, eggs, dairy, pet food, or pet waste to your compost will invite more pests!
18. Easy DIY Compost Bins – April Wilkerson
You probably know lots of people who just empty their trash cans into their DIY compost bins so why bother sorting your garbage? As we said, animal products can encourage pests and later contaminate your crops when you use the manure. So it’s smarter to sift them out first.
But if you must add milk, cooked meat, and pest waste, place it right in the middle of the pile and surround it with fruit and veggie scraps. That way the heat and good bacteria will kill any potential toxins in the meat while also camouflaging its distinctive scent from scavengers.
19. An Urban Pallet Compost Bin Design – Freckled California
Can you add paper to your compost? Yes! It comes from trees so it’s safe, and can even be helpful. Shredded newspapers, old notebooks, and bits of cardboard can all enhance the quality of your manure. But remember to remove any staples or plastic covers from them.
What about the bathroom bin – can you dump it in the compost? No, because it probably has hair, razors, and chemical-laden beauty products that could eventually contaminate plants. Avoid liquid wastes as well, whether it’s milk or juice. They could over-moisten the compost.
Do you know any other techniques for DIY compost bun pallets? Tell us in the comments!