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Composting Options Part One: Quick and Free

While we can't get enough of compost, as weird as that may seem, we understand that others may feel different. Some people find the thought of composting disgusting, and some just aren't sure how it all works. The good news is that whether you want to throw it in your Purple Bucket for composting off-site, or you want to set up your own composting bin on your property, we can help!

We will be posting a variety of articles on the various composting options. With each option, we'll assign a series of scores covering ease of install, cost, ease of maintenance, and susceptibility to wildlife. Everybody has their priorities and there is a composting option that will fit with yours.

Compost Design: Pallet Cube

Ease of Install: *3/5

Cost of Setup: $0.00

Continuing Costs: $0.00

Ease of Maintenance: *4/5

Protection from Wildlife: **2/5

* (1 being easiest, 5 most difficult)

** (1 offers zero protection, 5 is Fort Knox)


  • Materials can be found for FREE

  • Can be installed with a drill in a few minutes, even with just 1 person

  • Resists dogs, cats, and most other domestic pets

  • Easily accessible for large deposits from animal pens, stables, etc...


  • Requires more physical exertion than some options

  • May require a fenced yard in order to keep wildlife out

  • Less water efficiency than contained compost bins

Perfect for:

  • Do-it-yourselfers

  • Small farmers

  • Minimalists

  • People with strong backs

Not for:

  • People looking for an easier way. The pile has to be turned over by hand weekly.

  • Anyone with small composting needs. There are easier small scale options.

  • Anyone not up for a back workout for 30 minutes every week.

Why we love Pallet Cubes:

The pallet cube is one of the quickest ways to get into DIY composting. Pallets can be found for free with minimal effort, making them a prime candidate for upcycling projects including compost bins.

Prop them up to make 4 walls, add in a few screws at the joints and you've got yourself a surprisingly sturdy and lasting cubic yard of composting capacity. These bins, or something similar, are great for households with livestock. They hold a lot of material and are a great place to dump the old straw bedding from your chicken coop, along with the manure. By the time you throw in your food scraps, you're compost pile will be well on its way. If you run out of space, grab a few more pallets and expand your operation.


Here's the tough news. The pallet cube does require a substantial amount of effort in order to maintain oxygenation of your pile. Every week, the pile will need to be turned in order to allow oxygen to reach the core of the pile. Skip this step and the composting process will slow to a crawl. Anaerobic composting takes much longer to complete and the pile produces significantly less heat, which can lead to higher pathogen rates within your compost, along with a higher risk of surviving weeds and seeds. In other words, you have to aerate your pile. Plan on spending 30 minutes turning the pile with a pitchfork each week for every full pallet cube. It is a rewarding hands-on experience, if you don't mind the workout.


4 pallets (aim for 4x similarly sized pallets)

Screws or Nails - 2"-3" in length


Chicken wire to fill gaps in pallets

Staple gun w/ staples to attach chicken wire to pallets

More articles on pallet cube compost bins:

For those of you that aren't ready to jump into the DIY compost game, please try out Purple Bucket's compost pickup service. There are no commitments and you can keep your compostable waste out of the landfill and contribute to revitalizing our local Bailey soil. More info here:

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