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 environmentally 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 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.
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