If you’re like many businesses, you probably have wooden pallets lying around and wonder if you can find an appropriate way to incorporate them into your corporate waste strategy. These are three things to keep in mind.
Pallets play an important role in shipping and warehousing all kinds of goods safely and efficiently. They keep bulky items stacked securely and make it easier to move with a them with a forklift. You may have seen tempting images online suggesting how to use pallets to build everything from home entertainment centers to picture frames. The truth is that pallets can often be dangerous depending on where they come from.
If pallets have been used to ship food, they may harbor harmful bacteria because wood is porous. While you may be able to safely bleach your kitchen cutting board, a surface cleaning is not enough to sanitize a whole pallet. Chemicals such as formaldehyde and various pesticides are also a matter of concern.
For these reasons, you should never burn a pallet or any treated wood. Unless you know where a pallet came from and what it contained, it’s best to avoid handling it. That’s especially true if it is not marked with the symbol “HT” for heat treatment rather than chemical processes. It’s also less problematic to reuse a pallet outdoors for a project like garden shelves rather than anything that will cause close contact indoors.
Giving Pallets Away
That doesn’t mean that some pallets can’t be safe. If you know that it was used for paper products only, you can use it for just about anything or offer it to people who want to use them for crafts. Advertise them on Craigslist or donate them to a neighborhood school. You may even be able to find local companies that will pay your for your pallets or at least haul them away for free.
When possible, it’s still a great idea that reduces garbage in landfills. You just want to be sure that you are not causing exposure to toxic substances. Contact your local recycling center to find out if they can accept pallets. You can also search online for pallet services companies that repair and recycle pallets.Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dezeneandjoyel/