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Build Your Own Compost Bin from Reused Shipping Pallets

If you have the yard space for it, you may decide you want to build your own compost heap to reduce the amount—and stink—of your trash, and create a fertile topsoil for your garden. Take it one step further and build your own container out of old warehouse pallets, most of which are used only once before ending up in a landfill. This easy step-by-step guide shows you how.

From This Garden Is Illegal (with a tip of the hat to

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.

Read the whole article here.

Here’s an additional tip on homemade compost heaps, from Composting: An Easy Household Guide by Nicky Scott:

You can make a cheap simple box to contain your heap out of old pallets.These can simply be tied together, and you can easily insulate them if desired: fill the space where the pallet is picked up by the forklift with rolled-up cardboard, carpet, bubble wrap, an old quilt, sheep’s fleece, an old coat, or suitable building insulation material, and line the inside with cardboard sheets to cover up the gaps between the slats of wood.

Image courtesy of

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