Friday, August 6, 2010

Pallet Compost Bin

The average American family throws away a couple hundred pounds of compostable waste in a year's time.  Unfortunately, these items do not break down easily in landfill conditions, adding to the staggering amount of waste we produce and depriving our gardens of wonderful, soil-enriching nutrients.

For those of us with backyards, a simple solution is to compost.  And for those of us with backyards and on a budget, an affordable solution is a compost bin built from shipping pallets.  There are many online resources which will guide you through these steps; here is a pretty decent one:

These pallets are given away for free at just about any large retailer.  If you have a large family, or create a lot of vegetable waste, I suggest you search out the larger-sized pallets.  Be sure to select pallets that are not cracked or missing boards.

There is a seemingly infinite amount of information about composting techniques out there on the web and at your library, so I only want to add a few tidbits of advice about this project.  The three bin system is ideal so that you can have a couple bins in the midst of the composting process while you fill the third.  You may also want to consider installing heavy-duty hinges on the front "doors" of each so you can have easy access to turn and eventually remove your compost.  As you fill the bins, keep larger items against the slats and smaller (or smellier) items in the center.

This is truly a win-win-win solution: keep waste out of landfills, reuse those ubiquitous shipping pallets, and help your garden grow.  Happy composting!

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