Why People Are Choosing To Recycle Their Wooden Pallets
26 Apr 2018
Recycling is big business at the moment. The media is playing a huge part – recycling is always in the news – and programmes like Blue Planet are changing the way we think about what we use and what we do with waste and packaging. There is a similar story across the pond in the US, particularly when it comes to recycling wooden pallets. People are realising how easy it is to reuse or repurpose pallets or to grind them up and use them for mulch.
A study over two years by researchers at the Virginia Tech institution shows how up to 95% of pallets are now being recycled or reused in the US rather than being sent to landfill, which will have a huge impact. Over the last ten years, the number of pallets being taken to waste disposal facilities has been cut by a phenomenal 86%, thanks to heightened education and awareness of recycling and associated issues.
Why the Increase in Recycling?
People are realising that they have options, and landfill is no longer the obvious and only option. Recycling wooden pallets now means that they are being stockpiled for reuse at an industrial site, or they are being sold on to other similar businesses or to individuals who are starting to be more creative with them. Once pallets have been reused a few times and are starting to show signs of wear and tear, businesses and individuals are repurposing them on domestic fires or grinding them up into wood chips for biofuel, landscaping and even bedding for animals. Saving, and even making, money is a big motivation, but a desire to lessen our impact on the environment is also key.
Brokers are now making recycling pallets much easier. Some brokers have launched schemes where they will collect pallets from an industrial site weekly, paying per unit. They will then repair them and sell them on or chip those that are beyond repair. There is scope to improve this further as many more remote warehouses are not yet offering the recycling opportunity for brokers and have to make their own arrangements. Of course, they can, and do, buy their own wood chippers and sell on their own mulch.
Recycling pallets made of wood is much better for the environment because it reduces the number of trees cut down to make new pallets or to make mulch directly.
Of course, there are potential complications. Chemicals used to treat the wood to rid it of insects can be harmful, though heat-treatments can be just as effective.
Individuals are recycling wooden pallets more and not sending them to landfill as much thanks to the movement to repurpose things. Garden furniture made out of old pallets is particularly popular, lending a rustic finish that is durable even in harsher weather conditions.