Recycling Your Old Pallets
Monday 10th August 2020 | View all Blogs

Around 450 million pallets are produced each year and roughly 78% of them are reused for pallet deliveries and distribution purposes.

But not everyone who uses pallets knows how to recycle them properly or even the benefits of recycling, for that matter.

Throwing them away will cost you a lot of time and money if you mistake pallets for being broken or damaged, particularly if you plan on shipping more goods.

Not only can you pick apart a pallet and use the pieces for projects but you can also use the parts to build new pallets without breaking the bank!

Your old pallets can be used for home DIY projects, or they can easily be dismantled to create nearly-new, sturdier pallets.

First, you need to know the process of recycling your old pallets and how to identify whether your pallets can be used again.

Here's everything you need to know!

How to Recycle an Old Pallet

To properly recycle pallets, you need to take them apart. This just makes the process easier for everyone involved.

For that, you will need the following tools:

  • A hammer
  • A bolster
  • A wrecking bar
  • A pry bar
  • Sandpaper (or an electric sander)
  • A pair of safety spectacles
  • A pair of gloves

You may use these tools to dismantle your pallet, but what you do with the pieces is entirely down to your preferences, i.e. building something new or disposing of the pieces appropriately.

The dismantled pieces can be used to build your very own DIY project. You can find lots of ideas for such projects online!

You may even want to use the good pieces of the old pallet to create a new pallet for your pallet delivery with us.

Whatever option you choose, picking pallets apart requires a few top safety measures (believe it or not!). These are:

  • Put on your safety glasses - if you're chipping away at your pallet or sanding it down, there's a chance you may get sawdust in your eyes if you are not wearing anything to guard your eyes.
  • Wear a pair of thick gloves - you're working with wood and sharp nails, so covering your hands is a must when taking pallets apart!
  • Ladies (and gents!) tie long hair back - the last thing you'd want is to get long hair caught by nails. We recommend having long hair tied back to prevent any injuries!

Now that you know the top safety tips, you're probably wondering how you dismantle pallets, right? Keep reading!

What's The Easiest Way to Take Pallets Apart?

After gathering all the tools you need and prepping your safety equipment, you can start taking your pallets apart.

Here are the steps you must follow to do this properly and safely:

Step 1

Using the bolster and the hammer, begin by loosening the nails connecting the wooden planks to the blocks. Remember to wear your safety glasses!

Step 2

Once the gap between the two is wide enough, pick up the pry bar. It might take some force to pry the plank off along with the nails. Again, please remember to use your gloves to avoid any injury!

Step 3

Make sure that you remove all of the nails from the plank, as well as the blocks. Try to smooth the surface as much as you can using sandpaper or an electric sander.

Step 4

Repeat the first three steps with the other planks as well, until you remove all the planks on the top.

Step 5

Using the same process and tools, remove the blocks located at the centre of the pallet.

Step 6

Now that you have removed all the nails, you can begin using the dismantled pallets for any projects that you may have in mind. Or, you can locate somewhere to recycle the pieces if you have no purpose for them.

How Do You Know if a Pallet Can Be Reused?

Pallets can sometimes be reused rather than recycled, so it's important to identify whether you should reuse or recycle instead.

First, take a good look at your pallet and think 'is it damaged?' Observing the condition of your pallets is the easiest way of pinpointing any splits or significant damage.

If this is the case, you won't be able to reuse them for other shipments. Your only option now is to recycle them using our expert advice above!

On the flip side, if there are signs of basic wear and tear to your pallets there may be a chance you can reuse them with small repairs.

Such repairs can be made relatively easily depending on the wear and tear, i.e. replacing split deck boards with newer ones to give more support.

So, there would be no need to take the entire pallet apart - just the parts that need replacing or repairing. The pallet can be reused once repaired.

Are My Pallets Ready for Recycling?

Often, some people may take one look at a pallet and think it's at the end of its life, but that might not be the case! 

If your pallets are free from cracks, damage or rot, then they may well still have some life in them. 

We've got some tips on how to get the most out of your precious pallets:

  • Increase Lifespan of Your Forklift - the way you handle and move your pallets plays a massive part in how long they last in the end. For this reason, you should make sure the tools and equipment used to move your pallets are in good condition and that those who operate them, know how to do this properly and safely.
  • Completing Pallet Repairs - Rather than spending double the money on new pallets all the time, completing small repairs can prove to be the cheaper option. At the first sign of wear and tear, repairing should be at the very top of your list as it's the cheapest option you have at this point.
  • Treating Wooden Pallets - When it comes to treating wooden pallets, you may need to spend a little money at first but this will save you more money in the long run. Treatment is especially effective when there are obvious signs of wear and tear. In which case, treating the pallet wood can increase the lifespan of your pallets quickly.

A damaged pallet is not necessarily a broken one. For example, if one of the stringers is loose or has broken off, refrain from throwing it away. 

Discover more top tips and expert advice by heading to our Help Centre!

To book your pallet delivery with PalletOnline, visit our homepage and request your free quote. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further assistance.

Questions & Answers

Wooden pallets are usually a mix of soft and hard woods. Oak is often used for the loading parts due to its strength, whilst southern yellow pine is used for non-load bearing parts. Pallets can also sometimes be made from plywood is formed by different layers of soft and hard woods.

Pallets can be picked up quite cheaply if you shop around. Of course, recycling your own pallets can save you money in the long term.If you need a pallet courier service, then head to our home page to get your free pallet quote today.

Pallets can be bought from multiple places, whether it is industrial areas, a construction site or a wholesaler.Shipping a pallet or pallets across the UK and Europe is what we do best. We are also more than happy if you want to provide your own pallet when using our services.

Our pallet delivery service involves transporting your goods from one destination to another. As a pallet courier, we place your goods or containers on a pallet before strapping and shrink wrapping them.

National shipping is when your goods are shipped from one national location to another.We offer same day collection and our pallet courier network will ensure that your goods are looked after professionally.

Pallets can come in different shapes and sizes, but the wooden pallets we use are the most common.You can check out the standard wooden pallet specifications in our help section, along with all you need to know about pallet sizes.