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How to build a compost bin


Make a compost bin to achieve the satisfaction of turning kitchen and garden waste, into rich, crumbly compost. This will make your plants and crops thrive - so keep them, and your local landfill site, happy.

How to do it


Clear the area where you're going to put the compost bin and, if necessary, level the ground using a spade or a rake.


Take a pallet and stand it on its long edge to form the back edge of the compost bin. Push a stake through the two layers of the pallet at either end, using a sledgehammer to drive them firmly into the ground - about 20-30cm deep.


Position the remaining two pallets at right angles to the first to make the sides, butting the corners tightly together to stop compost spilling through the gaps. Fix in place with stakes in each corner, as in step 2.


To keep the structure stable, wire the pallets together at each corner. Trim the tops of the stakes with a bow saw.


Wire the last pallet onto the front of the right side pallet to make a gate - you'll need to open it when you want to get to the compost - and start filling your bin with garden and kitchen waste.

Our tip

Do add annual weeds to your compost bin, but avoid putting in any perennials such as couch grass or ground elder.

Cover your bin with carpet to keep it warm and to help speed up the composting process.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to build a compost bin
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toddbudnikas 24/11/2011 at 15:27

This looks great! I've been wanting to put one together for some time now. Anyone have suggestions on location. I've heard concerns of smell and such if you locate too close to the home. Full sunligth best?

connie_g 24/11/2011 at 15:27

We have used this method for making compost bins for about 6 years and it works well, producing good compost.
On our exposed site we have found it best to line the bin with old cardboard boxes placed between the two layers of each pallet and also to put newspaper inside.
If you make a row of bins and turn the compost after about 6 months it works very fast.

vickballer 24/11/2011 at 15:27

have some pallets at home now i have something useful to do with them thanks!

ChipsMaguire 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Hi I'm making a couple of compost bins out of wood, does there have to be gaps between the slats or can I make it solid? After all aren't most of the plastic composters solid? Any help on this would be much appreciated.

Primrose1 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I have just got 4 pallets and I asked my husband to screw them together but I know I would have to wait months. Putting in stakes is a much better idea. I'm sure I can do that myself. Thanks.

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