Making A Compost Bin From Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets can be a quick, cost effective, and easy do-it-yourself way of building a compost bin made of pallets. Also, reusing wooden pallets is an environmental friendly way to put wooden pallets to use in and around your home.

Advantages of making a compost bin of wooden pallets

  • Wooden pallets are low cost, generally free given a little research and sweet talking. You may even have a couple laying around from your last couple of projects.
  • Wooden pallets which are in good condition, they can last for years, even without any sealer treatment.
  • A large capacity compost bin can be created in very little time, once the pallets and required supplies have been gathered.

Where to get wooden pallets?

  • If you don’t already have some wooden pallets available, local small businesses are the best place to look. Smaller companies occasionally get a few pallets and then have to figure out how to dispose of them and, therefore are often willing to let someone have the pallets if nicely asked.
  • Larger companies tend to have arrangements for the pickup of their pallets already, but there is no harm in asking.
  • Also, construction sites, usually, have a few stray pallets laying around which they generally happy to be rid of.

How to choose your Pallets?

  • Pallets should be undamaged, not overly weathered, and free of rot.
  • Pallets should be of the same length, width, and height.

What supplies will you need?


Four pallets will be needed for a single stand-alone compost bin. If you are going to make addition bins, which will share a wall with a previous bin, you will need three pallets for each additional compost bin. For example, two bin requires seven pallets; three compost bins requires ten pallets.
Enough heavy duty zip ties or enough heavy duty wire (e.g., baling wire) to bind the pallets. Approximately 15, 12 inches or longer heavy duty zip ties for a stand-alone compost bin and each additional compost bin.
A cleared, level spot for large enough the compost bins and to permit access to the compost bins to check, repair, fill, turn, and empty the bins. Be sure to consider the size of any equipment you may desire to have access to your compost bins; things like a yard tractor or a wheelbarrow.
Fence posts to provide additional support (optional). For a stand-alone compost bin, four sturdy metal posts, at least as tall as the pallet once driven into the ground. Three more fence posts for each additional compost bin. Over the years, I have found fence posts keep the pallets straight and upright.

How to Assemble you Compost Bin

  • If using fence posts for support, place you first corner post,
  • then attach the pallet securely with sturdy wire (like bailing wire) or zip ties to the fence post.
  • Proceed to the other end of the pallet and repeat the process adding the second pallet.
  • Then repeat the process the process to attach the third pallet.
  • While you are doing this you will want to make sure that each pallet is maintaining a 90 degree angle, so, your compost be in finishes as a proper square.
  • When you mount the the fourth pallet you will want to make it more like a gate, so, you have easy access to turn your compost pile and, eventually, to empty the compost bin. So, you can either secure in a way that you can easily open it or add hinges on one end and some form of a lock on the final end.

Working with wooden posts

  • If you would prefer to make your compost bin using wooden posts you will want to plant you wooden posts and secure your pallets with either nails or screws (which I strongly recommend) rather than tying the pallets in place. Nails have a habit of working loose.
  • Otherwise the process is essentially the same.

To Make a Multi-bin system

  • You can by using either side of the compost bin, as you face the gate and add three more pallets for the new bin.
  • Don’t forget to make the last pallet a gate, just like the first compost bin, and you will want it on the same side as your existing gate.
  • You simply, repeat the process for each additional bin you wish to add starting with the side of the existing compost bins, where you which to add the new compost bin.

Your compost bin is built, what now?

  • Once constructed, line the bottom with permeable a protective barrier to prevent grass and weeds from taking over your compost bins.
  • This permeable protective barrier can be a commercial landscape cloth or couple of layers of flattened cardboard boxes or several layers of newspaper work well for this purpose.
  • And begin adding your compost materials in layers, being sure to water to each layer.
  • Be sure to mix your ingredients and turn your compost bin regularly.

Related References

Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Coffee Beans and Grounds
Coffee Beans and Grounds

Coffee grounds are one of the kitchen wastes and business, which can be recycled in the garden. So then, the discussion becomes how to use the coffee grounds.  Using coffee grounds in the garden, basically, come down to composting. There several approaches to composting, which can be applied to coffee grounds.

The Value Of Coffee Grounds As Fertilizer

  • The three principal nutrients by which the value of fertilizer is typically measured are; Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Measured by those nutrients, Coffee grounds do have value as a fertilizer when used as compost or applied directly as a soil

The NPK Value of Coffee Grounds

  • Nitrogen (N):28 percent
  • Phosphorus (P):06 percent
  • Potassium (K):6 percent

How Much Coffee Grounds To Use

  • When using coffee grounds as compost or when applied directly as a soil amendment, the volume of coffee grounds should be limit to more than 20 percent of the soil or mix to which it is being added. This rule applies to sheet, trench, and/or postal composting.

Coffee Grounds As Mulch

  • Coffee grounds are generally, fine ground and easily compacted so much so that they can form a barrier not allowing air and water to pass through your mulch. For this reason, coffee grounds are generally not recommended for use as mulch.

Sources of Coffee Grounds

From you Own Kitchen

  • An obvious source of coffee grounds as your own kitchen, Americans tend to drink coffee nearly every day so rather than throwing your coffee grounds in the trash toss minute compost bin and use of her garden fertilizer.

From Your Local Coffee Shop Or Restaurant

  • If you’d like to have more coffee grounds or you’re not getting enough coffee grounds for your purpose from your own kitchen, there are several local opportunities to acquire coffee grounds. In my local area, there are coffee shops like Starbucks or on the grind from which coffee grounds can be readily obtained. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen signs in the local Starbucks saying to ask the barista for coffee grounds for your garden. However, coffee shops may be an obvious choice, but there are any number of restaurants and cities and towns which can be taken advantage of with a little creative negotiation with the owner-operators.

Related References

Compost Tip – Suppressing compost bin odors

Compost Bin
Compost Bin

Compost bin order fix

  •   to suppress odors in a compost bin, pour in a box of baking soda and mix the contents of the bin. This will keep the acidity level down in a compost bin and suppress the order.

Related references

What To Compost

Black Compost Bin with two compartments, which tumbles
Black Compost Bin with two compartments, which tumbles

A large variety of things can be composted. Basically, if a thing can be decomposed (with a few practical exceptions) within a reasonable period of time, then they can be composted.

A Few Guidelines To Help The Process

  • smaller is better: this is true of most things relating to compost. So, chop, shred, and/or tear items into small pieces to expedite debt decomposition and the mixing of the compost heap materials.
  • mixing is good: too much density of any one material will slow the decomposition process, causing stratification, and make the mixing of the compost heap more difficult.
  • know what is done enough: Some consideration should be given to how you intend to use the compost and what is considered done enough for use. Some slowly decomposing items may only need to be aged and/or partially decomposed to be useful in the garden. For example, wood shavings can add value to the humus of the soil or as a pathway materials after only a little aging, if everything else in the compost has completely decomposed.
  • have multiple heaps: having at least two compost heaps and/or bins (even if small) is strongly recommended. So that, you may have a heap for current use, while your old heap is finishing.

Compostable Household Items

Kitchen scraps in a compost bucket
Kitchen scraps in a compost bucket

Here are a few household items which can be composted:

  • office paper (shredded)
  • old newspapers (non-glossy)
  • Wood ash (cooled and out)
  • cardboard (non-glossy or coated)
  • paper towels (including center cardboard tube)
  • paper bags (shredded)
  • egg cartons (made of uncoated paper or cardboard)
  • Eggshells (crushed)
  • kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps
  • teabags and coffee grounds (including paper filters)
  • old houseplants and potting soil (if not diseased)

Compostable Yard And Barn Items

Pile of Grass Cuttings
Pile of Grass Cuttings

Many yard and barn wastes can be composted. A few, which come to mind are:

  • grass cutting (not treated with herbicide)
  • autumn leaves (best if mixed with other materials, especially, animal manures)
  • old straw and hay (broken up into small sections)
  • livestock manures (chicken, rabbit, cow, horse)
  • sawdust and wood shavings (smaller pieces are better)
  • tree and brush waste (chopped small)
  • old lumber (free of nails and paint; chopped small)

Items to Exclude From The Compost Heap

Certain items need to be excluded from the compost heap to ensure proper compost culture, avoid unwanted orders, avoid attracting unwanted pests and/or to keep the compost from being detrimental to the soil culture.

  • plastic, metal, and/or glass items
  • waste chemicals and paints
  • Cat litter
  • dog waste
  • disposable diapers and wipes
  • glossy magazines
  • glossy newspapers
  • glossy or plastic coated cardboard boxes
  • meat
  • fish
  • cooking and other oils and greases
  • cook foods containing meat and/or heavy oils

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