Try This: Compost Bin Made of Shipping Pallets

Build your own compost bin from reclaimed shipping pallets.

| July/August 2011

  • "Making It" provides readers with all the tools they need to live a frugal, homemade lifestyle. With step-by-step instructions for a wide range of projects — from growing food in an apartment and building a ninety-nine-cent solar oven to creating safe, effective laundry soap for pennies a gallon and fishing in urban waterways —"Making It" will be the go-to source for post-consumer living activities that are fun, inexpensive and eminently doable.

The following is an excerpt from Making It! Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Rodale, 2011). The excerpt is from Section 5: Infrastructure. 

Composting is the ultimate form of recycling, so shouldn't the container used for composting also be made from reclaimed materials? One of the most ubiquitous castoffs in our cities is the humble wooden pallet. It takes just a few minutes to hook together a few pallets to make a phenomenal compost bin.

You'll Need:

• 3 wooden shipping pallets, all the same size (Find them behind stores.)
• Attachment hardware: your choice of screws, nails, bolts, twist-ties, or wire
• Scavenged boards to act as slats for the front of the composter (2x6s, 2x8s, etc.), at least 3 feet in length
• 12 to 16 total feet of 2x4 lumber (You can piece together scraps, if necessary.)
• Chicken wire, hardware cloth, and/or flattened cardboard boxes (optional)

Putting It Together

1. Choose a level site, preferably on soil and in the shade. Orient the back pallet of the compost bin with the slats running vertically and on the inside of the bin. Attach the side pallets of the compost bin to the back pallet with the slats running horizontally and also facing in. Alternating the orientation of the slats makes the bin stronger and gives you a nailing surface on the front. Connect all three pallets at their corners with screws, bolts, nails, twist-ties, or wire. Predrill the holes if you are using screws or bolts, as pallet wood splits easily.

1/7/2014 3:08:24 AM

Once they are no more useful, the shipping are almost a free product. But, there are many ways to make money out of them. This is only one of the many. Anyway, a good project indeed!

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