Pallets have a variety of uses in the transportation world, however lately many recycled pallets are being turned into furniture. While this may sound like a great idea of continually using a pallet instead of it simply rotting away in a landfill or ground up into mulch, the recycled material may not be safe for all uses.
The life cycle of a pallet normally starts as a custom built design made from precision cut lumber and assembled on an automated nailing machine. Once a customer has used the new pallet to move its merchandise to a customer, the pallet is then either reused by the customer or removed as a scrap pallet.
If the pallet is removed as a scrap pallet, it is most likely sold or given to a pallet recycler. When a recycler takes possession of a pallet, they sort the pallets to determine whether they are worth fixing or dismantling for parts or grinding. Many 48 x 40 pallets are recycled over and over again in the United States, as it is the most common size and the standard in the retail and grocery industry.
With the variety of locations that pallets can be sent to, would a recycled pallet be suitable indoors used as a piece of furniture or a table?
Consider for a moment that a single board from a recycled pallet could have hauled
- building products, and
- foods in the same year.
The cells in a piece of wood can act as a sponge when chemicals or liquids are placed on them, often storing or transporting the items for the remainder of the life of the pallet. The photo below show a cross section of a block of wood.
- Low cost of raw materials
- Pallet parts can be custom cut and assembled, completely designed around the product that is being shipped
- Static free
- Most pallet lumber comes from non chemically treated lumber and is safe for indoor storage
- Wood is a renewable resource
- a variable sized product that will take much refinement to produce furniture (thick and thin boards, width and length variations from board to board)
- protruding nails
- risk of containments that have seeped into the wood during the pallets use
- cost of producing the furniture is higher by reworking lumber instead of buying machined lumber ready to be processed
We want to hear what you have to say. Have you made anything out of a wood pallet? If so, what things do you consider? Let us know why by commenting below.
Post by: Jonathan Haynes, Regional Sales Manager