Introduction: Simple Stackable Compost Bin From Pallet Collars
This is the easiest project I’ve ever written about. Going through my local pallet stack, I noticed pallets with hinges. I had never seen this type of pallet in the stack so I grabbed a few. After a little research, I found out they are called Pallet Collars and are used to add sides to a pallet. They are hinged and collapsible and have tabs that secure the collar to each corner of the pallet.
So why was this project so easy? I just added a few modifications and stain/polyurethane to the already built pallet collars to make them look a little nicer. (Since finding your own might be difficult, I have added instructions so you can build your own.)
With one single unit as opposed to two or three bins, the space needed for composting is minimized. Each tier stacks on top of the other, latching together to make the bin. This setup makes it easy to turn and rotate the compost, since moving the collars is simple. Just remove the top collar and place in a new location adjacent to the original bin location. Turn the compost into the new location and stack the collars until finished. This is a great alternative to having multiple compost bins next to each other.
Video showing how it works:
Step 1: Tools/Materials
Step 2: Drawing
You will be building to this drawing. Note that the design can be scaled up or down. However, check the math for the sides if you want it fully collapsible.
Step 3: Cut Sides
Cut wood as shown. The optional holes are used to improve aeration to the compost. Make 8 of each piece.
Step 4: Paint/Stain (Optional)
This step is optional. I chose a cabernet colored stain from Varathane and a polyurethane from Minwax.
Step 5: Add Hinges
Add hinges to sides with nails or screws as shown. Optional: To increase ventilation, add 1/2" tall rubber bumpers to the bottom side of each board. Repeat for the desired number of stacks – 4 are shown in this design.
Step 6: Stack
Stack the tiers together by lining up the corners.
Step 7: Final Product!
No holes were added. Rubber spacers will be added before installation.
Step 8: How Does It Work?
For the initial set up, the pallet collars just stack one atop the other. Fill up the bin with well chopped browns (fall leaves, branches, bark, sawdust, paper) and greens (grass clippings, vegetable peels , etc.), using lots and lots of browns with just some greens. Add a shovel or two of good rich garden soil. Finally, make sure to water so the compost is moist but not wet, if everything is relatively dry. Then wait and turn based on how fast you want compost. To turn the pile, take the top collar off the bin and place it adjacent to the pile. Move the compost over to new the location, stacking and filling as you go. Be sure to moisten also. Repeat the moving/stacking steps until you get rich and crumbly compost. The more you turn, the faster you get compost.