Used Wooden Pallets – Buying Guide 2015
25 May 2015
Used wooden pallets can be a cost-effective option for both businesses and consumers. In many cases they are just as useful as new ones but are available at a fraction of the cost. They can be used both within the logistics and packaging sector and as the basis for a DIY project. If you’re looking to buy used wooden pallets for any purpose, there are a number of areas that you need to consider first. This will ensure that you purchase pallets that are safe to use.
Have You Got Permission?
Often businesses will give away damaged pallets or ones that they don’t need anymore for free. However, this isn’t always the case, and you shouldn’t just assume that any pallets that are left out can be taken without asking. If you see some pallets that are stacked up, then make sure you get permission from the appropriate company first. They might have simply left them while they’re waiting to return them to the original source or they’re to be recycled or reused. It’s always best to ask first, and many companies will be happy for you to take some away.
Keep Safety in Mind
You shouldn’t just start using a pallet without ensuring that it is safe to use. Used wooden pallets are ideal for DIY projects, but they can have health and safety issues if they’ve not been properly checked beforehand. Look at the overall condition and structure of the pallet and discard any that don’t look right. When you’re sorting through them, ensure that you have gloves on to protect yourself from any sharp edges, nails or splinters. If you’re in any doubt about the suitability of a pallet, then you shouldn’t use it.
Areas to look for when assessing the condition of pallets are those that: have a smell; are stained; are greasy or wet; appear heavier than they should be; have lots of protruding or broken nails; or generally look damaged.
Even if you’re only using the wooden pallet for DIY purposes, those that meet ISPM regulations are far safer to use. This shows that it has been heat-treated, which removes any moisture within the pallet. Pallets that haven’t been treated in this way can be damp and harbour bacteria. When you’ve bought an ISPM-compliant pallet, you should still give it a thorough clean before you use it. Use soapy water and bleach, rinse and then leave it to dry properly. Going through this process will ensure that your pallet is safe for general use. However, you still shouldn’t use it for storing food items and toys or as a piece of furniture for children.
If you buy from a trusted source, you are more likely to have a pallet that is safe for you to use. You can always ask questions about the origin of the pallet or how it’s been used in the past. The important point to remember is that whenever you have any doubts you should leave a pallet alone. There are always plenty more available that will be safer.