In our own business I am amazed at the amount of pallets we stockpile each month. Orders of foam, insulation board, plastic vapor barrier, and even office supplies come in on these wooden platforms. These sturdy, shipping workhorses show the stress of years of service. Beaten but not broken, pallets can last years. What an important role they play in our day to day supply needs. Everything comes on a pallet, with no return program being offered by any major shipper.
Is there enough pallets in circulation already to meet today’s shipping needs? All signs hint that an excess of shipping pallets exists. . We try to recycle our pallets but find that we can not even give them away. Landfills take in thousands each year and companies exist that grind pallets up for mulch or other “chip” wood needs. Google things to make with pallets and you will see industrious humans using them for strawberry farms, compost piles, fencing, and even housing.
While we love to find other uses for our pallets, what about continuing to use them for what they were designed for? If a small company like ours has an overflow of pallets, imagine what a supply large companies have. What about FedEx and UPS?
It is time for companies to join together to support a national pallet recycling program. While wood is a renewable resource, it makes more sense to use it for constructing homes, churches, and schools. How much of this precious resource is being used to construct something that we already have too many of in circulation?