The material handling industry repairs or recycles 170 million wood pallets every year. This is an impressive number due to the fact 75% of all pallets are reused for other products. That makes wood pallets the most recycled materials in the United States. While those numbers are impressive, there are still more pallets that could be repurposed for other products.
Some material handling companies will use a pallet until it breaks and is no longer suitable for commision. The majority of pallets, approximately 54%, are disposed of after just one use. This is cheap and often high-quality wood that is up for grabs. Chances are, you’ve seen products that reuse pallets and haven’t even realized it.
You might be asking yourself, “What would I use a pallet for?”
The possibilities are endless. Tons of ideas on how to reuse pallets are scattered across the internet. If you are planning on building a shed or similar small structure, collecting used pallets is a no-brainer! Simply pick an idea that you’re interested in, and get started!
Here’s what you’ll need to reuse pallets:
1. Figure out what you want to build!
Typically, the best way to reuse pallets is building a small shed or fun structures for children. Decide on a structure and plan its design. If you unsure how to safely build a structure, do some research on your structure. Chances are, somebody has already built it.
2. Acquire Pallets!
Call around to local businesses and ask if they throw out their pallets. Most of the time, they will let them go for free as long as you load them yourself. You can’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Some places that give away pallets are:
- Pet stores
- Tractor Supply Companies
- Corporate Offices
- Paint Stores
Even if that business doesn’t give away pallets, they might sell them for a small fee. This price is still generally much cheaper than buying new wood.
3. Tear Down the Pallet!
Most pallets are constructed with heavy-duty materials and are not easy to disassemble without practice. You might break a few boards at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. Many methods are available for breaking down pallets, but the most common way is hammering the bottom chocks off of the assembly and pushing the nails back out of the face boards.
Try different techniques until you find the best one for you. Not all pallets need to be disassembled, though, so determine if your structure could utilize an entire pallet. This would use the natural strength of the pallet without having to use extra materials.
4. Build your structure!
As always, make sure you use proper safety techniques such as long clothing and proper eye wear. Make sure you use quality materials such as nails and screws. If you don’t have tools of your own, you can rent building tools from a local supply company for a fee.
There you have it! If you want to save money and help out the environment, reuse pallets! Be sure to take pictures and document your building process so you can get others to reuse pallets as well!
If you want to be featured in the Premier Handling Solutions blog, comment below and send us your pictures of ways you have reused pallets!