Using Pallets to Make a Composting Container


Wood pallets may be discarded by shipping companies, the receiving departments of retail outlets and by construction companies. These pallets may no longer be viable for heavy loads, but may be used as building material for composting containers. The slatted construction allows for exposure to air flow and the pallets themselves are sturdy enough to endure exposure to the elements. A composting container made from pallets may last from four to six years.

Step 1

Clean the pallets with a mild soap and water solution to remove possible contaminants. Remove any exposed nail tips with a claw hammer and, if necessary, reinforce any loose slats with a hammer and nails.

Step 2

Mark the intended location of the compost container with landscaping spray, creating a square shape with 48-inch sides.

Step 3

Clear the intended location of the compost container of any grass and plant life, as these will grow into the compost. Cover the area with a piece of plastic and secure it with landscape staples.

Step 4

Set one pallet along one side of the marked area with the 48-inch side in the horizontal position. Have one person hold the pallet in place. Position a stake at one corner into the two boards that make up the stringer board, the part in which the tines from the forklift slide in to lift the pallet.

Step 5

Drive the stake into the ground until the top is approximately 4 to 6 inches above the top of the pallet. Drive a second stake into the ground in the same fashion at the opposite side, securing the first pallet.

Step 6

Set the second pallet along one side of the marked area at a right angle to the first, secured pallet. Use a length of wire to secure the second pallet to the stake and to the first pallet. Lash the two pallets together near the top, in the middle and toward the bottom.

Step 7

Set the third pallet along the opposite side from the second pallet and secure it, following the same procedure.

Step 8

Place a stake into the stringer board of the second pallet at the front of the square and drive the stake into the ground. Repeat this procedure for the third pallet. Four stakes now should be at each corner of the area with three pallets in place making up the sides and back.

Step 9

Position the fourth pallet at the front. Use wire to secure both sides of the pallet to the stakes and pallets to either side. The finished compost can then be removed by clipping the wires and removing the front pallet.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 48-by-40-inch pallets
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Landscaping spray paint
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Landscape staples
  • 46-inch-long stakes
  • Wire


  • Wooden Pallet Bin
  • EarthEasy: How to Build a Compost Bin
  • Department of the Environment Maryland: Building Your Own Compost Pile

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Composting in the Home Garden
Keywords: pallet compost bin, container compost pallets, build compost bin

About this Author

Shelly McRae resides in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned her associate's degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. Her credits include articles for, and several non-commercial sites. Her work background also includes experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.