Wood Pallets: When is it Time to Remanufacture or Just Recycle?


Wood pallets are the number one most used pallet in the US. They are less expensive than plastic and easier to repair or rebuild. When a pallet is rebuilt, it’s considered remanufactured.

However, it’s no secret that higher lumber prices and increased demand are keeping everyone on their toes to ensure that they have enough pallets for their business needs.

As supply and demand fluctuate and make it difficult to maintain pallet supply, it makes sense to try to reuse pallets as often as possible. So, how do you know whether your wood pallets still have some life in them?

While there’s no hard and fast rule about how long a wood pallet will last, the average lifespan is about three to five years. However, a lot depends on how well the pallet is made in the first place and how it is treated throughout its lifetime. 

If a pallet is in fair condition and can still be used to safely and securely transport materials, you can continue to reuse your pallets. Most minor damage can be repaired, extending the life of your pallet. However, when a pallet gets too damaged to be used to transport materials, it’s time to recycle or remanufacture. 

Pallet Recycling: What’s Involved?

Wood pallets are one of the most sustainable products around. The individual parts can be replaced with either new or used boards. Better yet, the damaged boards and used nails can be recycled at no charge to you.

However, at some point, the pallet cannot be remanufactured to the satisfaction of our staff’s exacting specifications. We are constantly monitoring the condition of our pallets to ensure their safety and usefulness. It is important to use that our pallets are always in shape to be used at a moment’s notice.

When we deem that the pallet cannot be further repaired, it’s time to recycle it. At Hope Timber, we view all parts of wood as useful. Scrap wood and broken pallets are dismantled and any usable boards are used to build our reclaimed wood pallets. 

Some research at Virginia Tech has shown that 95 percent of all wooden pallets are recycled. The wood can be used for mulch, wood pellets, animal bedding or biofuel.

At Hope Timber, anything wood that is not salvageable goes through our grinder to be used as mulch. You can find this mulch at Hope Timber Mulch, where we offer sustainable pet- and child-friendly mulch.

To further keep the landfill waste to a minimum, we will also recycle the nails holding the pallets together. We are doing our part to reduce waste and have done so for more than 25 years. Our pallet recycling and management services can help your company do the same.

Remanufactured Pallets 

Both newly rebuilt or remanufactured pallets can be made with the customer’s choice of 100% new hardwood timber or 100% reclaimed materials. At Hope Timber Pallet, using reclaimed materials can save customers as much as 30 percent per order.

When remanufacturing a wood pallet, the first step is to take apart the boards that need to be repaired or replaced and recycle the old nails. Either new or gently used boards will be added to replace the damaged ones. And, any loose boards will be strengthened with additional nails.

Customers also can request custom sizes for pallets during our remanufacturing process. Because we can build this way with individual components, we can build a pallet to your specifications. 

Interestingly enough, the number of pallet providers who offer recycling and reclamation services dropped from a high of 35 percent in 2018 to only 24 percent in 2021, according to a Logistics Management study. We are proud to say that we offer full-service remanufacturing and recycling to our customers. We work hard to create the best pallets available while saving our customers from higher costs.

Hope Timber will build, repair, pick up, and deliver 48 x 40 pallets to companies throughout central Ohio. If you have additional build size needs, we can accommodate any standard or custom pallet build while working on your 48 x 40 order.

If you’d like to talk about remanufacturing your wood pallets, contact us! We’d love to talk to you about whatever your pallet needs might be.

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