Used pallets can make excellent sides to a compost heap.

The gaps between the slats let air in. The heap becomes very warm inside. I recommend having at least two compost bins. One active; the other for extracting mature compost.

This is how to make a compost bin from three pallets that will convert kitchen scraps into rich garden humus.

Pallets can be found free from many businesses. Huttons have many all year round.

You can make your own rich compost with ease.


Simply use four pallets as sides.

How To Build It


This is what your finished pallet compost bin will look like.


When full, the pressure and weight will try to force your compost bin apart at the joins. Do not just nail the pallets together. Nails will be forced out. Use slats from another pallet to strap each corner and nail these to the pallets.


If you nail spare slats to tie the pallets to eachother, the pallets will not burst apart under pressure of a full bin.


When choosing pallets, ensure they are all the same size. Also ensure each pallet has slats with narrow air spaces between them. 3 cm is good. 8 cm is too widely spaced and it will not hold compost well. Not all pallets are created equal.


Pallets are made of waste timber. They often have splinters. Consider wearing cloves.


You might prise a pallet apart to use some slats to nail the pallets to eachother. Often the pallets splinter when being pulled apart.


Now you have a 3 sided compost bin. Improve on this with the use of loose slats on the side from which you add compost. Slide them down from the top. Use blocks of wood as spacers so the air can get through. Add more as your heap gets higher.

Grow climbing plants across the sides of your pallet compost bin. It will be hidden as it is used as a support for a plant. Loosely tie netting to it for plants to climb. It can look very attractive.

Two Secrets

  • Make sure all four pallets are the same type and size. Otherwise, it’s all hard work.
  • Get pallets with small gaps.

Photo & illustration credits

1. Photo of woman filling a pallet compost bin by http://humanurehandbook.com/humanure_basics.html