This is what my current compost pile looks like. It’s an overgrown mess. It started out 5 years ago as a little tiny pile but because there wasn’t much in the way of a boundary around it, the pile just grew until it was an unwieldy mess. I can’t even really get at the compost at the bottom of the pile because of the size and spread of the pile. Not to mention that the compost pile attracts critters because the food we add to it is out in the open.
It is time for a change. I need a good size bin to keep my compost in. The compost bin needs to be able to dissuade animals from getting at the food in the compost. The compost bin also has to have ventilation so the compost can get the air and water it needs to break down. And last, and most importantly, it needs to be cheap. That way I can spend more money on plants and flowers in the yard.
The solution is a shipping pallet compost bin. And that is what I am going to build today.
What you will need for this project is 4 shipping pallets that are roughly the same size, 4 L brackets, 2 strap hinges, a latch and the screws to attach the hardware. You can get the shipping pallets for free from almost any warehouse that ships and receives product. They will be happy to give you some as most places throw the pallets out after they are done with them. The rest of the hardware will cost between $10 – $15.
Check the slats on the pallets and hammer in any loose ones. Decide now which pallets will be the sides, back and front gate. My pallets were all the same size, but one had a plywood solid top, I decided to make that pallet the back of my bin. You will want to consider these sort of things when deciding which pallets will go where.
Match up the back and one side of the bin. Decide the best place to put the top and bottom L bracket so that the two pallets will be securely attached. Try to choose a spot that goes into the frame of both pallets, rather than the slats. Mark the rough location that the L brackets will go.
Lay the pallets back down. Attach the L brackets to the side pallet first. The L bracket will attach to the inside side of the side pallet. Attach both the top and bottom L bracket to the side pallet.
Stand the pallets back up. The L brackets will go on the back on the back pallet (see picture).
Attach the L brackets to the back pallet.
Repeat the last 3 steps on the other side with the other side pallet.
The front gate will need to be raised up a few inches so that it swings open easily. Place some bricks at the front to keep front gate off the ground while you attach it.
Attach the strap hinges to the side of the compost bin, one at the top and one at the bottom. Try to put in as many screws as you can into the pallet’s frame.
Set the front pallet on the bricks and attach the strap pallet to the front pallet.
Once the strap hinges are attached, attach the latch on the other side. I put mine way up high because I have kids and this looks like a really fun place to play jail. But I want to keep the kids out of the compost bin, so the latch it up out of their reach. You can set yours where ever you feel comfortable.
And this is the finished product. We broke out one of the slats on the front so that we have a nice opening to dump in our food and yard scraps without having to open and close the gate.
Now you can move it to the location of your choice. If you want to hide your compost bin, you can plant some climbing vines on the outside. They will grow up nicely over the pallet slats and camouflage the compost bin. And, as an added bonus, you are being environmentally friendly as you are saving these pallets from the trash.