Wood Pallets Minimize the Environmental Impact of Shipping


Are you worried about the environmental impact of shipping? It’s definitely on the minds of many people these days. The good news is that wood pallets are an eco-friendly product that can actually minimize the impact of shipping.

In fact, wood pallets were given an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) a few years ago. This means they have been certified to be an environmentally sound product that can minimize the emission of greenhouse gas emissions through reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling of the pallets.

Pallets are key elements of global supply chains. Their design has become standardized and repair of wood pallets has become very common. In fact, wood pallets are one of the most important elements in environmentally sound shipping, as they are designed to be repaired and repeatedly used.

Repair and Reuse Extends Pallet Life

The entire retail, manufacturing, and shipping industry depends on the availability of pallets. Pallets are crucial to supporting the distribution process, so having any type of shortage can affect entire industries in the supply chain.

There are more than 1.8 billion pallets in service in the United States each day, according to the National Wood Pallet and Container Association. Ninety-three percent of these pallets are made from wood. 

At Hope Timber Pallets, our wood pallets are constructed carefully to endure repeated handling or possible harsh treatment during the shipping process. In this way, shippers can get a quicker return on their investment and a lower cost for each shipment.

There have been some notable shortages and increased costs to wood pallets over the past year. Some of the shortages were due to natural disasters, like fires in the northwest United States. Other problems stemmed from labor shortages and a pent-up demand for new house construction. No matter the cause, wood pallets have been in great demand recently.

In addition, an increase in sustainability concerns and more interest in returnable packaging has meant that pallet manufacturers must become better at finding ways to reduce costs for customers while maintaining adequate levels of pallet production.

One way to achieve this is to reuse or remanufacture existing wood pallets. It’s interesting to note that 95 percent of all wood pallets actually ARE recycled–a far higher rate than many other items that are taken to recycling centers on a daily basis. 

Why is this?

Over the past several years, many pallet manufacturers have begun recycling and remanufacturing wood pallets to keep the supply chain supplied with enough pallets. Hope Timber Pallets has been emphasizing environmental responsibility since the business began in 1995. In fact, 25 years ago, most of the old or broken wood pallets ended up in landfills. That fact alone propelled the founders of Hope Timber Pallets to create a sustainable and profitable pallet manufacturing and recycling business model.

Simply put, there are far more opportunities to reuse wood pallets than other materials. Some wood pallets can be used again “as is” or are easily repaired. Other pallets with more damage may be repaired by taking off the damaged wood and replacing it with either new or used wood– passing on cost savings to the customer.

The end of the wood pallet’s eco-friendly journey

One industry market survey a few years ago showed that almost 40% of the wood pallets constructed were recycled pallets. Because recycled pallets are less expensive, they have become a valuable part of the supply chain.

This is a far better scenario than sending the wood pallets to the landfill due to a broken or damaged board. Researchers have found that sending wood pallets to a landfill actually affects the environment more severely than the carbon dioxide emissions that come from tree logging, heat treatment, and fumigation that are used to create the wood pallets.

At some point, however, a wood pallet does break down to the point that the majority of the wood is not repairable. When that happens, the wood needs to take a new form to continue its eco-friendly journey. At Hope Timber, our next step is to remove the metal nails for recycling. The wood is then shredded to turn into garden mulch.

Finding a second life as garden mulch means that there is very little waste when it comes to wood pallets.

The lifecycle of a wood pallet, from its beginning as a tree to its end as organic mulch used to supplement soil, means that it is an extremely eco-friendly and cost-effective means of shipping.

More to explorer

Worker pulling pallet stack safely.

National Safety Month: June 2024

Our blueprint for staying safe at Hope Timber Pallet & Recycling in June 2024 and beyond!  The National Safety Council (NSC) works

1 thought on “Wood Pallets Minimize the Environmental Impact of Shipping”

  1. Eli Richardson

    It’s interesting to know how shipping industries are using recycled wood pallets for their operations. Recently, my dad mentioned he wants to start a business and is looking for shipping supplies, so I do think he’d benefit from reading your insight. Thank you for the information on wooden pallets and how they’ve evolved.

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