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Recycling Wood Pallets

Updated on February 3, 2016
Photo: ©  ronnieb  | morgueFile
Photo: © ronnieb | morgueFile | Source

How To Recycle Wood Pallets

I love to do wood projects that are fun and recycling wood pallets is one of my favorite ways to find wood for my projects.

It wasn't always that way though. There were times when I went to the big box home improvement store and purchased new lumber for my projects. If you've bought any new wood lately, you'll know that it isn't cheap! I knew that if I could find a source for used wood I could cut the cost down considerably.

I was lucky to find a new source and it was free! You can't beat free! I had noticed that there were a lot of stores and shops in my area that had wood skids laying around outside their property. I asked around and found out that most of this old lumber was just disposed of in the garbage. What a terrible waste. Here's some ideas on how to recycle wood pallets and ideas for projects.

Finding Pallets To Recycle

Salvaging Wood Skids

It's actually not hard to find the skids. Most businesses have their products shipped and delivered on them. What are they doing with them after the product has been delivered to the store? Nothing. They are going to the landfill.

All you need to do is visit a few stores and look around the property to see if they have any used pallets. Most likely you will find some right away. Then you just need to ask them what they do with the pallets. Many business will say they just dispose of the pallets. If that's the answer then you can offer to take the pallets for them. Many business owners will jump at the chance to get rid of them free of charge because they are an eyesore and costly for them to dispose of.

You may run across a few stores that say they re-use the old pallets, but don't be discouraged. There will be other businesses around that will want to get rid of their pallets and will be happy to offer them to you.

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Easy Projects With Wood Pallets - Repurpose Them, Don't Throw Them Out

Wood Pallet Projects: Cool and Easy-to-Make Projects for the Home and Garden (Fox Chapel Publishing) Learn How to Upcycle Pallets to Make One-of-a-Kind Furniture & Accessories, from Boxes to a Ukulele
Wood Pallet Projects: Cool and Easy-to-Make Projects for the Home and Garden (Fox Chapel Publishing) Learn How to Upcycle Pallets to Make One-of-a-Kind Furniture & Accessories, from Boxes to a Ukulele

You'll find lots of projects for reusing wooden pallets in this book by Chris Gleason. Learn how to construct a toolbox, a birdhouse, and even a ukulele.


How I Found Lumber For Free

Finding Cheap Wood

I approached a few of the businesses and asked them if I could take their discarded pallets for them. It was a win win situation for both of us. I got an endless source of wood and the stores saved money because they didn't have to pay to remove the garbage. Of course, the environment also won as the waste timber didn't have to go to the landfill site and there were trees being saved because I didn't have to buy new lumber.

Another advantage of reclaiming them is that you also are getting some lumber that has been weathered and aged, and some that is still new and yellow. If they have been outside in the weather for a long period of time, they will look like old barn wood. Some of the lumber is very rough looking and might be perfect for the design of your project.

Recycled Wood Pallet Project Book - New Uses for Old Timber

Build It! With Pallets
Build It! With Pallets

Lots of wooden pallet projects from Joe Jacobs. Learn what kind of pallet to look for, and build projects like fences, chairs, planters, tables, and indoor and outdoor furniture. An inspiring book for anyone looking for wooden pallet projects.


What To Do With Old Wood Pallets? fear, I will show you

Once you've found a supply of wood pallets that you can recycle, the next steps are simple. You'll need to break the wood skids apart into pieces that you can use for your wood projects.

You'll have to take care not to splinter the pieces of wood as you disassemble the pallets. There are many staples and nails so exercise care while doing this. The nails and staples are very sharp and can cut or poke you. Please be careful.

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Tools You Will Need - Wood Pallet Recycling

Some of the tools that you will need for wood pallet recycling are a hammer, nail puller and safety glasses. Be patient as it takes a while at first to dismantle the pallets, but with practice it becomes easier to take the wood skids apart.

How To Dismantle A Wood Pallet

This video shows you how to take apart an old wood pallet.

Large Recycled Wood Pallet Projects

Don't want to take the time to take apart the pallets? These projects use the wood pallets with little to no dismantling required. Build a pallet fence or even a house!

Smaller Recycled Wood Pallet Projects

These projects are small wood projects you can make from old wood pallets. They're a bit more detailed and require a bit of work to take the pallets apart, but the effort is worth it!

Recycling Wood Pallets For Extra Money

Turn a Hobby into a Business

Want to make some extra cash Recycling Wood Pallets? It's possible!

If you make some of these projects out of recycled wood pallets you can sell them. Since the wood is free, and you'll have an minimal investment in materials (hardware, nails, screws, stain, paint, etc.) the projects are almost all profit. Turn an enjoyable hobby into a business and make some extra money.

It's also possible to make some money by repairing the pallets and then selling them back to the companies that use them. You can charge a flat fee, You'll just need to have the contacts and a supply of older broken pallets that you can use to repair the newer ones. All you need to do is take apart the older pallets so you'll have the replacement pieces to repair the pallets. Then you can return them for a profit!

The possibilities are endless and with a little imagination you'll come up with many different ways for repurposing wood pallets and maybe bring in some extra income for you and your family!

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A Compilation Of Recycled Wood Pallet Projects

Do You Reuse Wood Pallets? - ....or recycle any other items?

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    • Geordie T profile image

      Geordie T 4 years ago

      I'm just getting starting into my first build, first is a shelf for the wife. Second is going to be a coffee table for our deck, wish me luck!

    • profile image

      UKBusinesses 4 years ago

      Recycling is so important! We really encourage it and this is a fun way to do it

    • digitutah profile image

      digitutah 4 years ago

      This is such a great lens. I never knew what to do with old pallets. I would end up endlessly storing them in hopes I would use them for a pallet exchange when I needed more supplies or wait until someone decided a bonfire was in order. This helped a lot, thanks!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I enjoy making things from wood pallets, it is an exciting project when you can recycle something. The project are so rustic looking and have a lot of character.

    • redtailvision profile image

      redtailvision 5 years ago

      Lot of nice soft and hardwood on discarded pallets. I burn the unusable parts for heat in the shop. What's not to love about pallets!

    • profile image

      donnaelder 5 years ago

      My Dad love to recycle wood pallets and for me its cost-saving.

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 5 years ago

      Big fan of recycling pallets, big fan of this lens! Angel blessed!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      We're huge fans of pallets here - my husband built a paddock on our farm using only pallets and it looks great! The low cost is handy, too.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I have in the past; the wood is so cool to work with. Inspiring page! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I built a cd shelf years ago out of an old pallet. It is still in use today in my living room. The pallets are hard to take apart without splintering the wood. Nice lens.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm thinking about building a kitchen cabinet from them.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      I love the ideas here! Especially the vertical planter. Thanks!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I love giving new life from something that would ordinarily be discarded! Great article. Blessings! :)

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @BestRatedStuff: Yes it does and I am no pro at it either, just a little here and there!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      I too try to a lot of the time, but this takes to a whole other level. Thank for the inspiration.

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @bloodpressureguy: We do too, it takes extra effort but any little does help! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      bloodpressureguy 5 years ago

      I take a shot at recycling most things, but never thought to take the time and effort for something like wooden pallets. I love the creativity of this though. I will next time!

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @squidoopets: ....and the blessing too!!!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      We recycle a lot, I can't say everything but ... I want too :)

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @MillBucks: Glad you liked the lens! Thanks for stopping by!

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      What a great resource, I have never thought about this till now and its makes perfect sense! Thanks for shedding some light on the subject!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow! these are awesome ideas to really get the most from these pallets. great lens!

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @LynetteBell: Thanks! The garden is on my to do list for next spring! Really appreciate you stopping by and liking my lens!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice ideas. Like the garden:)

    • TheJVilleKid profile image

      TheJVilleKid 5 years ago

      @EEWorkouts: Thanks, appreciate you stopping by and commenting! Glad you enjoyed this lens!

    • EEWorkouts profile image

      EEWorkouts 5 years ago

      I have always wanted to do something with them. Always thought it would be a table. Cool lens!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very nice information - and great ideas, to boot! Thanks so much for sharing!