How to Build a Compost Bin Using Pallets


Composters often exercise ingenuity in recycling or reusing old materials to create their composting containers. Building a compost bin using pallets allows you to construct a sturdy, yet affordable compost bin. The open-slat design of a pallet compost bin provides an ideal way for you to contain your compost materials while still allowing ample fresh air to enter your organic waste. This pallet compost bin design leaves the bottom of your bin open to facilitate faster composting rates by exposing your compost directly to the bacteria in the soil beneath the bin.

Step 1

Acquire four similarly sized wooden pallets for your open-bottom compost bin. Spread the word to your family and friends to let them know that you're in search of wooden pallets with slat openings that measure no more than 2 inches wide. Check with local shipping facilities, post office mail collection centers and garden supply centers for old pallets that they no longer need.

Step 2

Measure the length of the pallets to determine the space needed for your composting bin. Use a shovel to scoop off the turf covering your composting location, making sure the area you choose for the compost bin site has good drainage and gets three to five hours of sun each day. Sink a steel T-post 9 to 12 inches into the ground at each of the four corners of your compost site.

Step 3

Stand the first pallet up on end, with the side slats parallel to the ground. Bring the two sides of the wooden pallet flush with the two nearest steel T-posts. Strap the first side of the wooden pallet to the first T-post using a 12-inch length of 14-gauge wire every 6 inches along the height of the pallet. Repeat this process with the opposite side of the pallet to secure the first side of your pallet compost bin into place.

Step 4

Position a second wooden pallet between the two T-posts opposite the first pallet, so the two are parallel. Make sure the ends of the second pallet are flush with the two T-posts before wiring it in place with 14-gauge wire, Repeat the installation process with the two remaining wooden pallets to create a square composting bin.

Tips and Warnings

  • Barbara Pleasant, co-author of "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide," warns that your pallet compost bin won't deter wildlife and other animal pests determined to loot the food scraps in your bin. Avoid pallets that show evidence of chemical spills, as the wood may contain toxic chemicals that could easily contaminate your composting materials.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 wooden pallets
  • Shovel
  • Steel T-posts
  • Hand-held post driver
  • 14-gauge wire
  • Wire cutters


  • "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide;" Barbara Pleasant & Deborah Martin; 2008
  • University of Illinois Cooperative Extension: the Science of Composting
  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension: Constructing a Wooden-pallet Compost Bin (pdf)
Keywords: wooden pallet compost, pallet compost bin, cheap compost bins

About this Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A freelance copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. During her time with Demand Studios, Hennessy has produced content for Ehow, Answerbag and Travels. Hennessy graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.