Looking for a great weekend project that will not take your whole weekend? Have some yard cleanup to do anyway? Try this pallet compost bin we built out of repurposed pallets and zip ties. It takes less than an hour, and is actually a great compost bin, due to the way the pallets create structure to the pile, but also allow ventilation. Practically free, super fast to build, and it allows you to compost a large amount of material.
How To Build A Pallet Compost Bin:
Pack of zip ties (18 or more)
4 repurposed pallets
A helper (optional)
Find and select 4 pallets.
Although most any pallet will do, if you were wanting make the bin visually pleasing and/or decorative, try to find pallets of the same size with intact slats. If you wish to, you can paint the outside pallet slats with a brush or spray paint.
Pallet Finding Tip: Where do you find pallets? I have had success finding them at the back of tile shops, on the side of the road, and when I really need them, or I need large quantities, for sale pretty inexpensively off Craigslist. Be on the lookout- once you start looking for them diligently, you will be surprised how many you find, sometimes in unexpected places.
Before you begin putting your pallets together, you need to make your zip ties long enough to join the pallets together. String one through the end loop of another one, then when you want to “tie” them, you put the end of the first through the loop of the second. You will only be joining the bin on three sides, so nine (9) joined zip ties should be enough.
Stand your pallets up and place them at a 90 degree angle to one another. Try to find an arrangement where the pallet heights and widths can be put together to make a square or rectangular structure. No two pallets are alike, so you may need to move them around a bit until you find the best combination.
Join two pallets together. Using your joined zip tie pairs, begin joining two of your pallets together to start forming your structure. Use three long zip ties for each corner of the compost bin. (One corner is left unsecured so you will have a door. The zip ties are somewhat flexible and act as a hinge)
Place a third pallet at a 90 degree angle to the first two joined pallets and zip tie one corner to the first pair of secured pallets.
Place your fourth pallet with the first three so that you have a square or rectangular shape. You will only attach one corner her so that you will have a door, allowing you to open the bin to add or access your compost. It does not matter which corner you attach. If you are right handed, attach the final side so that you have a door that you can open with your right hand. If you are left handed, attach it so that the door can be opened with your left hand. Do not pull the zip ties on this side too tightly. You want them to be secure, but yet retain enough flexibility to allow you and close the bin from the opposite side.
Add leaves, lawn clippings and/or table scraps to the bin and allow to compost naturally.
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Todd Stokes says
I just found this site today. The only description I can give is – OUTSTANDING. Please continue to expand. I am absolutely ready to start several of the ideas that you present. THANK YOU, keep up the good work.
Wow. Thank you. We are working to quickly bring you great content, but content with knowledge and experience behind it, which takes time. Please do keep checking back for more and be sure to follow us on Facebook to get our latest project news. We will also have a newsletter soon. Project suggestions welcome!
its important to shred the leaves first or they take forever to mulch
yes, it is
Jack Shannon Sr. says
I’m not sure if you would want to use colored pallets. They are treated for bugs and some are used in chemical plants. This might make them not suitable for a composting bin.
P.S. Please check this out as I am not sure here. But better to err on the side of caution.
I live in GA and we get quite a lot of rain here, would having the top open like this pose any kind of problem?
Brenda Windell says
I found FREE pallets at a local farm equipment shop. They were happy to give me all I wanted to get rid of them as they have to pay someone to haul them off. You may want to check your local farm equipment places.
Good ideas, but the compost bin will last longer if you do it this way:
You’ll need 10 pallets, of similar size;
attach chicken wire to the inside;
put them upright, with a steel fencepost or steel signpost driven into the ground. You only need one upright per outside pallet;
make a 3-sided bin with wire instead of tiewraps, then add 2 more to make a second bin, then 2 more to make a third;
attach the front loosely with wire so you can remove it to get the finished compost out.
The 3-bin system lets you turn the first bin into the second, then into the third one, so you can keep making compost.
I have a 3-bin compost bin that is going on 8 years old. As long as you don’t try to move anything except the fronts of the bins, it’ll keep its shape.
And, it’s mostly free.
Thanks for the awesome tips!
I am planning on making a 3 bin composting system very similar to your description. I am wondering where, on the outside pallets did you place the fence post, rebar? What do you think of putting it in between the two halves of the pallet and in the back corners? I am hoping to have a hinged door on the first two sections so perhaps the rebar needs to be in front to make it sturdier. What do you think? Many thanks!
I plan to make a pallet surround to ‘hide’ the gas tank in our yard. This is a perfect design and just what I wanted. Thank you! I will be adding hanging little pots of flowers to decorate the pallets. I made a succulent wall planter that turned out lovely and a back deck for the tiny house we built inside our barn. Next spring, the gas tank surround thanks to you!