If you get your firewood or fuel delivered in bulk, then you may be wondering what to do with pallets left over once you have used up the fuel. As these are usually made from pine, you may be tempted to chop them up and use them as firewood or kindling. However, that may not be the best idea if the pallet has been treated with chemicals. Any pallet that will be used to export products out of the country by law has to be treated to kill off any plant or animal life in the wood. This is done using heat, or a chemical pesticide called methane bromide.
Heat treated pallets would be ok to use as kindling, but you don’t want to be burning the ones treated with chemicals as they can release toxic fumes. Pallets that have been treated will have a stamp indicating this. The stamp will include the letters HT for heat treated or MB for those that have had the methane bromide treatment.
If you can’t see a stamp, then it is best to err on the side of caution and find another use for them. Here we suggest a few safer and environmentally friendly options for disposing of wooden pallets.
Pallets are made from straight cuts of high-quality pine, the perfect material for building all sorts of useful things. If you need to store wood, then building a log store would be the perfect place to start. The gaps between the pallet planks are ideal for ventilation and the only extra material you would need is a bit of felt for a weatherproof roof. Then you are only limited by your imagination – outdoor furniture, planters, bed frames, even wine racks can be built using the humble pallet.
Donate to a wood charity
There are lots of wood recycling charities around the UK. A good example is the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, which is a not for profit Social Enterprise that promotes recycling and reuse of wood that would otherwise have rotted away in landfill. In fact, since 2004 their collection teams have recycled more than four and half thousand tons of wood. Anything from railway sleepers to old furniture and of course wooden pallets will be gratefully accepted to be repurposed or stripped down to provide an affordable source of timber to the local community.
A quick browse on your local free ad site will tell you that used wooden pallets go for between £2 and £3 depending on their condition. That probably isn’t going to pay for your ski trip this winter, but every penny counts and there will always be someone local that will put your pallets to good use. If you are intending to sell them, then try and store your pallets in a dry place like a garage or shed to keep them in good condition.
Your local recycling centre will almost certainly be able to recycle your pallets. These may be turned into mulch for landscaping, pulped for paper production, or reused as building material. More recycled wood means less wastage and less trees that have to be cut down. I’m sure you will agree that makes sense on all levels.