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Building a compost bin from shipping pallets

Jun 28, 2012

I've experimented with a lot of compost bins and unfortunately I've outgrown anything available commercially and the ones I previously made at home.

Two years ago I created a homemade compost bin from a basic black plastic garbage can which I punched holes in to allow for air flow (key to the composting process). With my ever growing organic garden, I outgrew that one very quickly, but it would have been fine if I had stayed with two raised beds for vegetables and two flower beds. 

One of the most effective compost containers was made with bales of straw. I bought bales from a local farmer and built a three foot square box and filled it with kitchen scraps and horse manure early in the season. The manure was delivered for free from a local horse stable, just so they could get rid of it. The straw bales worked very well, as the straw provided plenty of heat, but as the straw began to break down on the inside, the block shrank. As I had no more straw, it got a little messy and invited my dog and local wildlife to sample from the compost.

Around that time I read an article somewhere online about using shipping pallets to build a compost bin. Shipping pallets are used in industry to store and move big quantities of products easily via forklift. Since they're made of wood, they eventuially break or crack and the businesses want to get rid of them. These you can get for free if you just ask - they're usually in piles behind shopping centers, shipping companies, etc.

Shipping pallets are the perfect size for a compost bin - four feet square. I've been using this bin for three seasons and it works remarkaby well and if you can produce enough kitchen scraps or get you hands on manure, it will do the job well. 

This is a link to my YouTube video which shows you how to build the bin: http://youtu.be/utOnd76mfYw

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