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The Humble Wooden Pallet – Recycling, Re-training and Raising Funds

14 Sep 2015

Used wooden pallets have long been recycled as a base for DIY projects. They provide a practical way of creating a range of handmade products, including furniture, garden accessories and storage solutions. One charity has now taken the humble wooden pallet and used it to support people who are looking to get back into work. The pallets are used as a means of re-training the individuals, and the proceeds provide funds for charities.

The Power of Pallets

The Power of Pallets scheme was launched in 2013 within the north Queensland area of Australia. The not-for-profit organisation helps to retrain local people who are currently unemployed, and they can have up to 80 individuals working on the scheme at any one time. The charity runs a number of different programmes to provide the participants with various skills that can help them to get a new job in an industry they’re interested in. As well as developing these practical skills, they also benefit from teamwork and being in the workplace.

One of the programmes that the charity runs takes used wooden pallets and upcycles them so they can be used again. The participants can take a simple used wood pallet and create something remarkable from it that others then want to purchase. They have so far produced a variety of decorative goods and furniture which are set to be auctioned off for charity. The proceeds from the auction will help to raise funds for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. Last year’s event raised a total of $17,000.

Using Pallets for DIY

A used wood pallet makes a fantastic starting point for your DIY projects. They can be recycled into a range of items that can then be used around the home and garden. With a little bit of creativity and time, you’ll be amazed at what you can turn your pallets into.

For the garden, you could create a planter, raised bed or even decking from them. Used wooden pallets can have many uses in the home as well, including shelving, storage units, shoe racks, coat and bag pegs, coffee tables and beds.

If you’re not sure where to start with such a DIY project, then there are many online sites that offer inspiration and guidance. Before you start on the work, there are some safety issues that you need to be aware of. Firstly, you should do a visual check of the pallet to ensure that there are no spills or marks on it. If there are, you shouldn’t use the pallet, as you can’t be sure what the substances are. You should also inspect the pallet for any sharp edges, protruding nails or missing slats.

When you have a clean pallet, it’s important to understand whether it has been heat-treated to prevent insect infestations. These pallets will have the IPPC logo on them, and without this stamp you can’t be sure of the origin of the pallet.

Wooden pallets are a cheap foundation for DIY projects. However, if you can’t be sure that the pallets come from a trusted source, the recommendation is that you don’t use them.

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