Pallet Compost Bin

Hi! I have been looking at making a compost bin out of pallets.  Is this a good idea?  Has any of you tried this before?  Do you need to line it in plastic? Some websites say yes others don't have it as a step.  Thanks!!

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  • Some years ago I built a compost out of pallets and It worked great almost to great it caught fire and the fire department had to show up. The fire fighter said it ignited due to it not having a top on it. I got the plastic trashcans from the city transfer station and never had any luck with them at all. Hope this helps.

    • Fire? Yikes!  So would I be better off investing in one of the plastic ones that rotate from Costco? 

  • My 3cents... Like everyone mentioned, no plastic necessary (or any fabric).  It will cause more issues (and headaches) than not.  Expect lots of material to spill out of the sides (Even if you use a wire mesh).  Its a good thing; just shovel it back in.  Pallets work well as long as you work them often.  Two typical issues with pallet composting - they keep on the dry side; and they deteriorate over time, about 2years or so.  Build it well, keep it moist, and 'work' it often. 

    Regarding the municpal composters (repurposed garbage cans), they are completely the converse - they don't deteriorate, but the stay on the wet side.  Work them often, and mind the moisture.

    To learn more about composting tips and practices, check out the upcoming classes:

    • Thanks Vynnie.  :)

  • Thanks guys!!

  • Lining it with plastic would limit aeration too much. 

    My recommendation is to build it with pallets and then if the spaces between the pallet slats are too wide, dismantle a few pallets and use the boards to fill in the gaps.

  • I've read the "lining with plastic" somewhere too, but I see plenty of pallet bins in town that don't use them and they seem to work just fine.  With that said, my compost bin is one of the recycled city trashcans, and I find that it doesn't get enough aeration.  Probably the best thing is to just go for it and see how it works for you in your space, then modify as needed.  :)

  • Hi April,

    I would not line it with plastic.  If you have the pallets already and it looks like too much space for things to fall through look at weed cloth as the liner, or even bird netting, just something to 'kind' of hold it in.  Hope that helps.

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