Simple Stackable Compost Bin From Pallet Collars




Introduction: Simple Stackable Compost Bin From Pallet Collars

About: I like to design and build random things.

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


  • Saw
  • Drill/Bits
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil


  • Free Pallet Collars


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.



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    36 Discussions

    I am inspired by your design. I've been looking for pallet compost 'ibles, and your build is fantastic. Good job.

    1 reply

    Thank you for posting this! Last year a neighbor at my boyfriends apartment had some of these and gave me 2. He hasn't gotten any more and I had no idea what they were. Now I have the name of the hinge. I've been looking for them for over a year now. Unfortunately you have to order a minimum of 500 from the source you provided. I don't need that many. I just wanted to make some raised garden beds. These seemed to be a great solution, but I haven't been able to get any more from the neighbor. :( I would love to find a local to me source of these.

    6 replies

    Thank you. I couldn't find smaller quantities either. I did find a seller that was offering them for $.02/hinge (min order of 2000). That comes out to $40/lot. I assume you could take what you want and resell the remainder on Ebay for a profit.

    I would go in with someone on the hinges or more even.

    I've received a lot of request for the hinges between Instructables and the other sites where this project is reference. Although I'm not interested in being a hinge distributor, it does sound like a potential money maker if someone has the time/energy to sell these in smaller lots.

    Will you please tell me where I can order the hinges from? I don't mind having to buy a 100 if the price is right, because my family is doing a project to raise money for the homeless, needy, poor, people and kids in my area of Oklahoma to teach them how to be self-sufficiant and building tiny homes for them to live in and sell if they choose to upgrade their living. Thank you

    That sounds like a nice project!

    Unfortunately, I have never purchased them. I picked these from a stack of old pallets. I just did a quick google search [pallet collar hinge] and found them for $0.30 to $0.60 each with a min order of 10 pieces. I bet you could find better deals with more searching. Good luck.

    Thank you for interesting post. Every summer I try to create something from pallet collars, so for me it's important to find as much information as possible in the web. Here is the useful source, which I found several months ago:

    1 reply

    Thanks. I posted this project on a few forums. Everyone seemed to be looking to buy the hinges. At the time, I could only find them through commercial distributors in large quantities.

    It's beautiful, and a great idea but I think I'd use it to grow potatoes instead. If you search aound the Internet, you will find several articles that claim that an arrangement like this can produce 100lbs of potatoes (give or take).

    1 reply

    Thanks. Yes, I think we are going to try to that next year.

    Can the hinges be ordered on the internet from someplace? This is a great system for a lot of uses

    Where did the hinges come from?

    this would be more cool if i could figure out what a pallet collar is. ive never heard of them before. I know what a pallet is. Is this part of a pallet? something for holding a bunch of pallets?

    1 reply

    googled pattet collar. Seems it;s a bottomless folding box ring that is stacked on to of a pallet to make a box. Theyre generally impregnated with heavy duty pesticides and preservatives to keep them from degrading at sea or spreading invasive species. I would say the paint is definitely NOT optional and better be pretty rugged. Putting anti bacterials in your bacteria farm is pretty counter productive.

    I have tons of these at my work. So many that occasionally I throw some away. If you are going to use the compost created to plant vegetables, I would be concerned with the chemicals in the stain and/or paint. If recycling used collars, keep in mind that these are chemically treated to prevent bugs from tagging along when shipped from overseas.