Wood Pallet Recycling: Be Creative
09 Jul 2016
The global financial crisis of 2007-08 had a significant effect on many areas of life. People’s attitudes to money and spending were altered as households suddenly found that credit was not as readily available and jobs were not as secure. Household budgets were reduced, and many people went out of their way to find low-cost alternatives to products that they had previously purchased without a second thought. These days, and as a direct consequence, our vocabulary has expanded to include words such as “upcycling”, “preloved”, “preowned” and “second life”, and the continued effect of rising environmental awareness has brought about a surge in the number of innovative and unique ways to use items previously discarded as waste.
Why Reuse Old Wood Pallets?
Wood pallet recycling is one area where creative DIYers and trained artisans alike have really excelled. The sheer number of pallets needed to meet the demand from industry means that not only are used wooden pallets widely available, but also that if at least some of them were not re-purposed, companies would have to bear the cost of disposing of them in some other way. The options available for getting rid of unwanted pallets are limited for companies concerned about their carbon footprint, as the two most common routes are burning the pallets down (which, if the pallets have previously been chemically treated, could release harmful carcinogens into the environment) or taking them to the landfill. Stacks of empty used pallets left on-site can also be a potential health and safety risk, with fire and accidental injuries topping the list of possible dangers.
Common Wood Pallet Recycling Projects
The internet is awash with pictures of finished products made with second hand wooden pallets. Some creations are somewhat obvious and involve very little alteration of the original piece. Examples are pallets used to create the tops of coffee tables, raised plant beds and planters, children’s sand pits, decking platforms and bed bases. In these examples, the wood pallet recycling process merely involves cutting and joining them together as appropriate. At the other end of the scale, wooden pallet boards have been carved into beautiful and unique works of art. Skateboards, bike stands, shoe racks, wine racks and complete sets of kitchen units are some of the other more unusual and quirky ways old pallets have been re-used effectively.
What to Look for in a Pallet
There are numerous types and sizes of pallets available, and the picking the right style of used wooden pallets is the first step to a successful project. It is also important to choose pallets that are in good condition, avoiding those with visible spills, stains or bad discolouration. A reputable dealer offering second hand wooden pallets for sale would have taken their stock through the process of thoroughly refurbishing and reconditioning them, meaning that they are safe and ready to be turned into something completely different from their previous life.