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DIY Reclaimed Pallet Composter

by jfaubert on July 10th, 2012

Our household tends to produce a lot of food “waste”. While the city’s green bin is great, especially for meat, bones, fats, etc., I think making your own compost from your vegetable/lawn/garden waste is a smart (and environmentally responsible) thing to do. It keeps lots of waste out of the landfill while making great soil for you own garden.

This spring I wanted to skip the city’s small black plastic composter for something different. I wanted to build my own and I didn’t want to just pop down to the hardware store to grab a bunch of lumber. I wanted to build a composter from reclaimed wood. Pallets to be precise. So many pallets are just left to rot or used as firewood. These are a great source of lumber. The trouble is they are tough to get apart – ie. this project took (and is still taking me) a lot longer than anticipated. Even so, I think it is worth it.

This post isn’t a “how to”. I’m no carpenter so I’m sure you can build one just as well as I. Check out Youtube, they have lots of examples of pallet composters as well as many other pallet projects. What I can tell you is that for a composter  it should have some sort of removable front to make access easy to the whole composter when it is time to remove your soil. I added a hinged door to the top for easy disposal. Line the inside with some sort of mesh to keep out unwanted pests. Other than that, you just need to build a box. Mother Nature will take care of the rest.

Here is a picture with the framing mostly done. This composter is big: 90″x36″x36″. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of room for all kinds of food and yard waste. Actually with this size and the speed at which food waste breaks down in this heat, I could compost half of the neighbourhood. I have the composter separated in thirds, so I can start a new bin if need be and let the first one break down – currently I have one bin full of extra soil I bought to fill garden boxes. One bin is for yard waste – grass cuttings, leaves, etc., which tend to break down a little slower.

This picture is the way I’m using it currently. One bin (left) for food, one for soil storage, one for grass/leaves. Someday I’ll get the rest of the doors on it. Also please note, you need the line the inside with some sort of mesh to help keep out those pesky squirrels and other unwanteds. Also, I used reclaimed bricks I found around the yard to build a bit of a foundation. That way the wood is not sitting directly on the ground and it adds a little more stability.

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. It’s a great way to keep the household sustainable. If you have any questions or comments about the composter or composting in general (for which I’m still a novice), I’d love to hear them.


From → land

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