There are few things in the world more unappreciated than the wooden pallet. From baby clothes to bananas, solar panels to sewing machines, most of our consumable goods are transported on pallets. In the United States alone, approximately 500 million pallets were produced in 2016. The pallet industry is so large, that it has become the #1 consumer of hardwood lumber in North America, consuming more than 7 billion board feet of lumber annually. That equates to nearly 20 million trees!
In recent years, pallet reuse and recycling has increased, however it’s estimated that 25 million pallets, equating to roughly 1 million trees, are still landfilled annually. Here at The RE Store we have been working with local manufacturers to reuse unwanted pallets that were headed for landfills. In fall of 2018, we launched a new program called Manufacturing Waste Diversion in order to assist manufacturers with their byproduct. Headed by Program Development Manager Tim O’Donnell, Manufacturing Waste Diversion helped 10 local manufactures divert over 160,000 lbs. from the landfill in 2018.
Last year our friends at Itek Energy began sending us a steady stream of pallets. We’ve discovered that pallets are an excellent source of lumber and have been experimenting with a variety of palatable (pun intended) ways to use them around the home and garden. We have our various designs on sale, but encourage brave DIY’ers to dream up their own projects. Here’s some inspiration to get you started:
Geometric shelves – There’s no better way to display your beloved possessions than on a unique shelf. We’ve been experimenting with shapes and have been inspired by the likeness of Mt. Baker. To build these beauties, we’ve disassembled a pallet, sanded it down, made miter cuts to the ends and assembled them with glue and brad nails.
Garden shed –This brightly colored garden shed is perfect for a green thumb. Made using 6 pallets, left whole, brightly colored siding scraps were added for a pop of color. Topped with corrugated roofing, it’s a perfect bus stop shelter, tool shed, or bike barn.
Raised Garden Beds – Made using two pallets, these raised garden beds are perfect for the DIY gardener. To start, we cut two pallets in half and arranged them in a square. We then installed a simple box structure to connect the four pieces, a 1×6 deck made of scrap fencing, and called it a day! These beautiful beds can hold 140 cubic feet of soil and are a perfect project to involve the kids.