How to Recycle Wood Pallets

Posted By: On: April 16, 2021 1:11 pm 0 Comments

Once a wood pallet has been used to transport its last load, the question becomes what to do with it. In the evolution of environmental sustainability, many are now beginning to ask how to recycle wood pallets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that more than 3 million tons of wood from pallets are recycled annually. These recycled pallets can be turned into new furniture, mulch for yards and gardens, animal bedding, or even biofuel. 

Adopting a recycling program has become increasingly popular as businesses look for ways to dispose of wood pallets to benefit both their bottom line and the environment. What was once only a few thousand units recycled each year has now grown to millions of wood pallets recycled annually. 

And while a wood pallet serves as a base when it comes to shipping goods, each one can have unique features depending on the condition and length of use. Here we take a closer look at a few common questions about how to recycle wood pallets.

Stacks of pre-recycled wooden pallets

Are All Pallets Recyclable?

The short answer to whether or not all pallets are recyclable is maybe – depending on the type of pallet and the condition it’s in. There is not a one-size fits all approach to recycling pallets. The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association tracks a 95-percent wood recycling rate. Plastic pallets are also an expanding solution but lag behind the more popular wood pallets.

Wood Pallets

Getting right to the point, yes wood pallets can be recycled which is strongly encouraged throughout the industry. Typically, pallet buyers look to obtain units of standard size with the most common being 48”x40”. Earth Eclipse notes that wood pallets, comprised of soft and hardwoods, provide a consistent material for recycling into other goods.

Recycling wood pallets has evolved over the last three decades as companies turn to more sustainable business practices. Gone are the days of just tossing out unwanted pallets to end up in a landfill. Recycling wood pallets can include repairing and reusing a unit several times or repurposing the lumber for furniture, chipping as animal bedding, mulch for a flowerbed, or even composting and biofuel.

Plastic Pallets

While there are pros and cons to recycling plastic pallets, the practice is not as widespread as wood. Once plastic pallets have been deemed unusable to ship freight, the load is often sent to a recycling program where they are sorted, cleaned and shredded. The plastic is generally turned into another product entirely.

Where Can I Recycle Wood Pallets?

Determining if there is a local site accepting wood pallets for recycling is often a good first step. While some landfills may be able to accept small quantities of wood pallets with the intent to sort for recycling, it’s likely the facility will not be able to handle the pallets consistently. Additionally, recycling centers accepting aluminum, paper, or other material are usually not equipped to process wood pallets.

Locating a commercial recycling facility that accepts wood pallets is often the best option. These recyclers are able to inbound large loads of wood pallets to sort and inspect each one. The condition of the pallet will be assessed with some in good shape to reuse for shipping freight, while others may need to be repaired before hitting the road in a trailer, and yet others will be processed for recycling and the wood repurposed.

A number of other options can be utilized in finding creative ways to dispose of wood pallets.

Piles of broken pallets and wood to be recycled

Can You Recycle Wood Pallets for Money?

Depending on the condition of a pallet and other factors, it may be possible to recycle wood pallets for money in some cases. On average, wood pallets could net between .50 cents to $4 per pallet. Pallet buyers can answer a variety of questions to get a better estimate.

The price of recycling wood pallets is set according to the:

  • Condition
  • Size
  • Quantity
  • Proximity to recycling site

Budgets are always top of mind for most companies looking to keep expenses down to boost profits. And for many, having a reliable and hassle-free way of discarding those wood pallets once freight is unloaded often means more to the bottom line. 

Few have time to sort through stacks of pallets and prefer not to have them sitting around outback or taking up valuable space in a warehouse. In some cases, it’s more profitable for companies to have a third-party pick up the load to save time, money and other costs to dispose of the wood pallets.

What is the Best Way to Recycle Used Pallets?

The best way to recycle used pallets is to find a pallet recycling company accepting the wood in the local area. It is likely the facility will be able to process the unwanted pallets by the truckload to sort out those that can be reused, need repairs, or are ready to be used to create other products.

Learn How to Recycle Wood Pallets with Pallet Recyclers

Pallet Recyclers is here to help companies figure out how to recycle wood pallets with solutions to best suit their needs. R.L.R. Sales, L.L.C. dba Pallet Recyclers strives to work with companies that need effective and consistent solutions.

Working with Pallet Recyclers is easy and we can custom-design recycling programs. As pallets are unloaded from shipping, load each one into a 48’ storage trailer. When the trailer is full, our team will haul it away and leave an empty trailer in its place for the repeat process. This service is of no charge to the customer. 

Pallet Recyclers then sorts through the trailer looking to reuse the good ones, pull out lumber that can be reused, and then recycle the rest for our Mulch and Energy Pellet divisions. Pallet Recyclers is looking for 48”x40” Grade A and Grade B, 4-way pallets. Core pallets may also be accepted depending on the quality. 

Let Pallet Recyclers take all those unused pallets away. Get started by completing the Contact Us form or giving us a call at 800-482-2989 to speak to a Pallet Recyclers team member.

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