Build A Compost Bin At Home With Shipping Pallets

If your retail compost bin can’t keep up with your composting requirements, watch this video which shows you how to build a compost bin with shipping pallets.

I have outgrown every compost bin I’ve made at home or purchased. As my flower and vegetable gardens grew, so did my need to feed them and I frequently ran short of compost.

Two years ago I created a homemade compost bin from a basic black plastic garbage can which I aerated. I also outgrew that very quickly, so last year I used bales of straw to create a container and filled it with horse manure and kitchen scraps.

The straw container worked really well, as the straw created a nice heat sink around the compost and was great for adding carbon to the compost pile whenever I needed it. It also had a nice height to it, about 3 feet on each side, which discouraged wildlife from foraging in the pile.

Unfortunately, when the straw got used up and the compost pile was surrounded by only a short plastic fence, every creature in the neighborhood, including my dog helped themselves to the kitchen scraps and pulled them into the yard. The dog got sick a few times and I had to keep picking up banana peels, egg shells, rotten fruit, and lots of other kitchen scraps from the yard. Sure, I could have bought more hay bales, but I was after something more permanent.

Then I read about using shipping pallets to build a compost bin. Perfect, I thought, since they’re not only free for the taking, but they’ll promote excellent air circulation and are the perfect size for holding lots of compost-each is around 48″ square. I have yet to run out of compost, so I’m really happy with the results! Enjoy the video.

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About Todd Heft

Todd Heft is an organic gardener and freelance garden writer who lives in the Lehigh Valley, PA and has gardened for most of his life. When he isn't writing or reading about organic gardening, he's gardening. His first book, "Homegrown Tomatoes: The Step-By-Step Guide to Growing Delicious Organic Tomatoes In Your Garden" is available on Amazon now. Google
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6 Responses to Build A Compost Bin At Home With Shipping Pallets

  1. Ann says:

    I think a bottomless bin is best, right on the soil, and it should not be against a building. It would be a shame to have the siding of the building rot out, and when the bottom pallet rots out, the whole thing could fall over.

    • Todd Heft says:

      I’ve been using the shipping pallet bin for two years and it works extremely well. The bottom will not rot out as it receives enough air underneath, due to the screening. I’ve spaced it about two inches away from my shed, so there’s no danger of the shed wall being affected. There is also screening on the sides of the bin, so no compost leaks out the back against the wall. Some may wish to have the compost contact the soil as to encourage earthworm activity, but the downside of that is that the compost will have to be stirred more often to let enough air into the mix.

  2. Mike Schoenberg says:

    I have 3 plant holders with a few holes in the bottom. Put in leaves and food scraps and cover with dirt and other heavy material from my compost pile. Flip them and in 3 weeks have more compost.

  3. Todd Heft says:

    Now that I’ve been using the compost bin for 18 months, the hardware cloth is fantastic for air circulation – there is virtually no odor from the bin even if I forget to stir it. As for the 4″ screws – you’re correct. I used the bungee cords because when I built it I wanted to be able to break it down easily if I wanted to move it and the bungee cords were perfect for that. 4″ screws would definitely be best for a permanent installation.

  4. David Miller says:

    I like the idea of hardware cloth on the bottom! Disagree with the use of bungee, I used 4″ screws on mine with great success but as long as it holds it works right. Thanks for posting

  5. Robert says:

    Great information! Thanks for sharing that, Todd