Instructables has plans for several compost bins made from recycled products like garbage cans and pallets. I've used a black plastic orb for composting, but it gets too heavy to roll around as it fills up with moist material. I wanted to make a sturdy bin that was easier to use, would not compost itself, and could accommodate more waste, without spending too much on materials. Wooden compost bin plans often call for pressure-treated lumber, but I don't like the idea of pesticides in the lumber leaching into my compost and soil. So I decided to use recycled redwood, which I had in abundance from a play structure we built for our kids when they were young. Redwood (west coast) or cedar are the best choice since they are rot-resistant, and will keep the garden organic and safe.
Although the triple bin uses lumber, the sides are made from wire hardware cloth, so this cuts down on the expense of using all wood. You'll need a 3x9 foot space in your yard to accommodate this bin. The large size will allow you to compost everything you've got--from garden trimmings to kitchen waste. Ours is in the garden but not too many paces from the kitchen door, to make composting as convenient as possible. The triple bin will also allow you to compost in stages, moving the contents from one bin to the next as the material breaks down. With removable wooden slats in front, the compost is very accessible and easy to turn, stir or shovel to the next bin or the garden.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
DIVIDER FRAMES: Four 12-foot 2x4s (cut into eight 31-1/2-inch long pieces and eight 36-inch long pieces)
TOP AND BASES: Three 10-foot 2x4s (cut into three 9-foot pieces)
FRONT RUNNERS: One 12-foot 2x6 (cut into four 36-inch long pieces)
INSIDE RUNNERS: Two 10-foot 2x2s (cut into six 34-inch long pieces)
SLATS: Six 8-foot 1x6s (cut into 18 slats, each 31 1/4-inches long)
One 25-foot roll of 36-inch wide 1/2-inch hardware cloth (cut into four 37-inch lengths, and one 9-foot length)
2 lbs. 16d galvanized nails
One box poultry wire staples (about 250)
Twelve 1/2-inch carriage bolts, 4 inches long with washers and nuts
Two quarts clear shellac and paint brush
(Optional lid: exterior plywood cut into three 3 x 3-foot pieces and attached to the back with six hinges)
General wood-working tools are needed such as:
drill with 1/2-inch bit