Wooden pallets are strong, and are often used many times, then repaired when necessary. But what happens when pallets are beyond repair, and have reached the end of their useful life? Luckily, pallets are very easy to recycle, whether it’s using the wood to make something useful for the home, making new pallets, or even turning them into bio-fuel. There are often incentives to return pallets too, with companies returning deposits once pallets are returned, ensuring they don’t end up in landfill. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wood pallets and wooden crates are sent to landfill, which means more trees are cut down for wood, and even more energy used to make new ones. Here are some of the advantages of recycling wooden pallets.
Returning wooden pallets
Returning wooden pallets is usually very simple. When you hire them, you usually put down a deposit, and the pallets are delivered. When you have broken pallets that are no longer useable, you simply call up to arrange a collection, and the company will arrange for pallet recycling.
Once returned, your pallets will often be repaired and reused when possible, and if they’re beyond repair, they can be ground down for compost, turned into useful materials such as sawdust. It’s even possible to use pallet wood to make furniture, from tables to garden sets, which have a rustic appeal that’s currently very on-trend.
There has been a shift from using single use pallets, to choosing multi-use pallets instead. These have advantages such as:
- Financial savings – if you use a lot of pallets, then it’s obviously going to be cheaper to use them more than once
- Convenience – no need to constantly arrange for delivery and collection
- A reduction of around 50% in energy consumption and greenhouse gases to create these pallets
- Less solid waste
If you’re looking for a simple way to improve your company’s green credentials, then switching from single to multiple-use pallets is an easy way to do so.
Even strong pallets will need repairs now and again, and this can be a lot greener than simply replacing them. Pallets can often be repaired using simple tools, or returned to where you hired them for repair. This is often done multiple times before it’s necessary for recycling to be carried out. Pallets have a simple design, so can be taken apart and re-built, or the wood used elsewhere. It’s also easy to turn pallets into different sizes as needed, or create different styles that are used for different purposes.
Recycling a single tonne of timber pallets saves the equivalent energy of:
- The greenhouse gases used by
- The power used by six houses for a month
- Thousands of litres of water
- Fourteen wheelie bins worth of waste
The problem with pallets is that so many are still going to landfill when they don’t need to be. Each year, the city of Sydney alone sees 140,000 tonnes of waste wood that could be recycled, much of it pallets and crates, which could mean massive energy savings each year. This wood has so many purposes, and yet it fills up landfills, simply because people don’t want to arrange for recycling or carry out simple repairs.
Pallet furniture has also become a popular look in recent years. Some manufacturers even buy new pallets to make furniture, although in terms of the environment, it’s better to use used pallets. Pallets are ideal for furniture, as they’re strong, easy to stack, and can create a rustic or contemporary look. They are even easy for those without much furniture making experience to use, as making simple shapes such as bed frames and chairs is a straightforward job. Pallets are also easy to paint or stain, giving a huge number of design options, and both bright colours or rustic finishes look great.
Choosing refurbished pallets over new
With businesses trying to show their environmental credentials, the market for refurbished pallets has grown. Often much cheaper than new, as well as being environmentally friendly, refurbished pallets are still of high quality and fit for purpose. If you’re a company who use a large number of pallets, then consider the savings this could create over time, and how your impact on the environment could lessen.
For an easy way to have your pallets collected and recycled, simply contact Pallet West of Bibra Lake, Western Australia, on (08) 9434 2264.