How to Make a Compost Bin Out of Pallets


Unless you're in the shipping business, a pile of pallets is nothing more than an eyesore. Their sturdiness and relative light weight makes them an easy and convenient material to create a small compost bin for the garden. With a minimum of four pallets, you can construct a basic bin with the use of heavy-gauge wire or nylon rope. Ideally, you can put together five pallets with a wire-grate bottom and two door hinges to make a tidy, cost-effective compost bin that's easy to clean and access.

Step 1

Acquire a minimum of 4 pallets that measure 40 to 48 inches in length and width. Select pallets of the same size and weight for ease of handling and construction. Ask businesses for their "waste" or leftover pallets that rest near dumpsters taking up precious space. Pallets with the same depth makes construction much easier too.

Step 2

Purchase a metal wire grate or fencing mesh in the dimensions to perfectly top one pallet. You can use 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch mesh wire or vinyl netting.

Step 3

Set one pallet on the ground in the site where you wish to have a compost bin, with the grate side facing up. Lay the metal wire mesh atop this pallet.

Step 4

Set two pallets atop the ground pallet with them on the edge, touching in one corner. Make sure the pallet edges rest atop the wire mesh grate on the ground pallet.

Step 5

Secure tightly with long pieces of heavy wire (or old coat hangers untwisted) the corners of all the pallets together at their corners. Insert the wire through adjacent grates in the pallets and twist the ends so they are snuggled to each other. Don't forget to wire the bottom pallet to the upright "walls" of the bin.

Step 6

Place the third pallet on the other side of the bin, creating the third "wall." Follow Step 5 to secure the pallets together with the heavy wire.

Step 7

Take the two door hinges and position them on the last pallet. Screw the hinges into the pallet. Lift this pallet up to the compost bin and note where the hinges and their screw holes line up on the bin. Attach the hinged pallet "door" to the bin.

Step 8

Swivel the door to see if it works properly and is sturdy. Add more wire to the edges and connections of the pallets as needed to increase sturdiness and improve the functionality of the door panel.

Step 9

Close the door and insert one long piece of wire to keep the door closed and create a finished bin. Alternatively, use a concrete block, hook or swivel piece of wood to lock the door closed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Refrain from using pallets that are stained or coated in petroleum products such as creosote, oil or paint.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 or 5 matching sized shipping pallets
  • 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch meshed wired, cut to cover one face of a pallet
  • Wire
  • Nylon rope
  • 2 door hinges with screws
  • Screwdriver


  • Composting with Pallets
  • Building Your Own Compost Pile
Keywords: compost, pallets, making a compost bin

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for The Public Garden, Docent Educator, numerous non-profit newsletters and for's comprehensive plant database. He holds a Master's degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne's Burnley College.