The construction industry needs a lot of raw materials. These are generally delivered in bulk, often on wooden pallets. Since businesses are responsible for managing their own waste, they need to find a way to dispose of those pallets appropriately. Recycling them is an excellent choice. Here are 7 of the benefits it offers.
For many businesses, this will be the headline benefit. Lawmakers, regulators, and other stakeholders want to encourage businesses to recycle. One of their tactics for doing this is making it more expensive to send goods to landfill than to recycle them.
Pallet recycling is particularly cost-effective. This is partly because they are relatively easy to recycle. It’s also partly because there is such a high demand for them. Many businesses are happy to take recycled wooden pallets for use as packaging. They are also very popular with both home DIYers and professional up cyclers.
Wooden pallets are strong enough to be used as furniture. They can even be turned into beds and chairs. Wooden pallets are also robust enough to be used outside e.g., for fencing gates and doors. Their most popular uses, however, are as planters and for storage.
In addition to all of that, wooden pallets can be broken down into pellets. These have many uses, including construction. Other popular uses include animal bedding, mulches, and biofuels. This means that even wooden pallets that are in poor condition can be given a new lease of life through recycling.
Health and safety
Wood is a major fire hazard, and the construction industry must take this particularly seriously. It also splinters and that can be a health-and-safety hazard too. Wooden pallets have nails or tacks in them. These can also lead to cuts. This hazard may seem relatively small but if an individual gets an infection from it, it could become expensive.
Wooden pallets are also bulky. This potentially creates both a health-and-safety hazard and a security risk. The health-and-safety hazard is that wooden pallets can obstruct traffic. This can lead to tripping. It can also lead to collisions, potentially between humans and machinery.
Piles of wooden pallets create obstructions for monitoring systems. For example, they block the view of CCTV cameras both directly and by creating shadows. Given that crime (particularly theft) is always a concern for construction sites, this is a serious issue. Recycling wooden pallets quickly is an easy way to address it.
You can take wooden pallets to be recycled as soon as you are finished with them. Alternatively, you can arrange for them to be collected from your site. Either way, they are cleared quickly so you can free up space for more useful purposes.
Wood has long been a valuable natural resource. Right now, it is in particularly short supply, hence its high price. There are various factors behind this. Many are environmental (e.g., forest fires). Some are social (e.g., illegal logging). In the UK, Brexit is creating additional challenges for the timber industry.
For all of these reasons, and many more, it makes sense to minimise the use of new wood. This means recycling existing wood as much as possible. Wooden pallets are perfect candidates for recycling. They can often be used as pallets multiple times and/or for extended periods. Even when they are past this use, there are many other purposes for them.
Making the supply chain run more smoothly
The timber industry is becoming increasingly regulated. On the one hand, this is sadly necessary to protect against unsustainable activities such as illegal logging. On the other hand, it creates extra administration. This often ends up increasing the length of time it takes to get raw timber where it is needed.
Additionally, the fact that wood is a natural resource means that it’s susceptible to environmental issues. Even without the challenges of climate change, there can simply be difficult years. Increasing the use of reclaimed wood, such as recycled wooden pallets, helps to make the supply chain more resilient. It can also make it shorter and hence faster.
Making construction more economical
In addition to the immediate cost-savings of pallet collection, there are long-term benefits for the industry as a whole. These stem from the fact that recycling wooden pallets is much less resource-intensive than creating new ones.
For example, you do not have to source wood, so you do not have to use resources to grow wood. Likewise, you don’t have to transport the wood to a manufacturing centre. Furthermore, it takes much fewer resources to refurbish an existing wooden pallet than to create one from scratch.
The fewer resources are used to produce an item, the less that item costs to produce. Those lower costs are typically fed back into the economy through lower prices. Even if they’re not, they may result in lower taxes/other charges. This is particularly relevant in the case of recycling wooden pallets as this has a vastly lower carbon footprint than manufacturing new ones.
Recycling wooden pallets also helps to reduce the industry’s (and the world’s) reliance on plastics. If wood is not available (e.g., due to supply issues), then plastic is the obvious alternative. In fact, it’s likely to be the only practical alternative. Plastic certainly does have its uses but it’s still generally preferable to avoid it if possible.
Gaining positive PR
Now, more than ever, businesses need to manage their public images. Private individuals are now increasingly aware of their ability to influence behaviour through their buying decisions.
They are also increasingly aware that they can indirectly influence companies in the business-to-business sector by applying pressure to companies that buy from them. In the case of the construction industry, consumers also have the option to apply pressure to lawmakers, regulators, and other stakeholders.
This means that it’s very much in the construction industry’s best interests to work, actively, on building a good relationship with the public in general. One of the best ways to do this is to show a commitment to sustainability. When you recycle your wooden pallets, you are helping to create a zero-waste economy and reduce your carbon footprint.