Wood Pallet Recycling Guide

Wood Pallet Recycling Guide

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Wood Pallet Recycling Guide

What is Pallet Recycling

The 3 categories of pallet recycling are pallet recycling for businesses, pallet recycling for DIY (Do It Yourself) wood pallet projects, and pallet recycling to make wood mulch. Businesses use pallet to ship goods to consumers and other businesses. When pallets are left over they need to be recycled. If pallet recycling involves a business then the pallet is typically reused. When a pallet is reused it is checked for damage and repairs are made to the pallet.

Pallet recycling that involves DIY wood pallet projects are usually performed by households or people and not businesses. However, some architectural firms are now starting to use recycled pallet wood in LEED certified buildings because the wood can be FSC certified. For most DIY pallet projects people find pallets and then tear them down to make something else. There are a lot of pallet project plans on the Internet so pallet woodworking is gaining popularity.

The other type of pallet recycling is where pallets are ground up into mulch. Grinding up pallets into mulch is a type of pallet recycling that reuses the wood as another use. Pallets that are ground up as mulch have too much damaged to be used again.

Pallet Recycling Checklist

Pallets Recycling Repairs

Pallet recycling can have different levels of quality. Here are 6 things to look at when determining pallet-recycling services.

1. Check for any missing deck boards. Typically a pallet will have 7 top deck boards and 5 bottom boards.

2. Check for missing stringer boards or cracked stringer boards. Missing boards should be replaced during pallet recycling operations.

3. Check for broken boards. Broken boards should be replaced or repaired during pallet recycling operations.

4. Check for splits in boards and make sure the pallet-recycling center repaired or fastened cracked boards.

5. Check for exposed nails. Pallet recycling services have equipment to make sure nails are not exposed.

6. Check for missing wood at connection points on the boards. Connection points are very important to repair when recycling a pallet.

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Pallet Definition

To you understand what pallet recycling is we need to define what a pallet is. Pallets are wood platforms to ship goods on. Pallets are classified by several specifications. These specifications are important to help you determine what pallet you need to buy. There are 2 typical classifications of pallets in the United States. The first is a stringer pallet and the second is a block pallet. Both of these pallets have different prices.

Pallet Sizes and Dimensions

Pallet size is really important for pallet recycling. Pallets can range in sizes based on industry, customer needs, or country you are shipping in. Typically pallets are referred to by length and width. In the U.S. or North America pallets are measured in inches while in Europe they are measured in millimeters. The side where the forks enter is the width and the side where the stringers run is the length. The standard size pallet in the US is a GMA (Grocery Store Association) Standard 48x40 pallet.

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Board Types Used on Pallets

Deck board are a specification that pallet recyclers look at. Deck boards are the boards on top of the pallet. These pallet boards are what the products or goods sit on. Deck board styles are commonly flush with the stringers but can extend on the sides. A GMA 48x40 pallet has 7 deck boards and 5 bottom boards. Also the end boards are 6 inches wide, which gives more functionality and durability.

How to Pickup Pallets with a Forklift

The way a pallet can be picked up by a forklift depends on the entry style. The most common pallet entry classifications are 2-way and 4-way entry. 2 way entry pallets can be picked up from the front and back. The 4-way pallet can be picked up from the front and back and also the side stringers have notches in them that make it possible to pick up the pallet from the sides.

New Wood Pallets and Recycled Wood Pallets

The next specification is the manufacture type. Wood pallets can be new or recycled or a combination of new wood and recycled wood from used pallets.

Pallet Treatments, Pallet Certification, and Pallet Stamps

Heat Treatment Pallet Stamp

Pallets get treatments based on the pallet use. Pallets are made of wood so they are subject to moisture and wood bugs. This is why treatment is needed. The 2 types of treatments are bug treatment and moisture treatment. To get rid of bugs a heat treatment or fumigation is needed which is performed in compliance to ISPM-15. This makes the pallet safe for export. Drying of a pallet is important to prevent mold from growing on the pallet.

Wood Pallet Types and Nails

Two materials used in pallet manufacturing are wood and fasteners or commonly known as nails. Lumber is a key material used to make pallets. New lumber pallet parts are made from cants, rough-sawn lumber, and dimension lumber. Lumber also has a species class. Examples of wood can be eastern or western and hardwood or softwood, but there are many types of wood used in pallets.

Load Capacity of a Pallet

To determine is a pallet is loaded properly a safe load capacity test can be preformed as well as a structural analysis of the pallet. These tests can help determine how much weight can be put on a pallet and still be safe. A safe maximum load capacity should be determined for every pallet built.

Common Pallet Sizes

Most pallet recycling occurs with pallets that are 48x40 inches. These are the pallets that are recycled and repaired over and over again.

Pallet Prices

Pallets typically cost between $5 and $10 for a recycled 48x40 pallet. New wood pallets can cost between $10 and $20 per pallet based on lumber prices. Pallet prices can change based on economic conditions and supply and demand as well as lumber prices.

4 Steps to Determine Pallet Recycling Quality

1. After recycling a pallet the pallet should be flat. Deck boards should not vary in thickness by more than 3/16 of an inch or 5 millimeters.

2. A pallet should be square when you are finished with pallet repairs at the pallet-recycling center.

3. Deck boards should be spaced correctly and not exceed 4 inches apart.

4. The overall appearance of the pallet should look good.