Converting wood pallets to shelves, planter boxes, benches, bed frames, and other home décor is a fun, trendy, and inexpensive way to add style to one’s home or business. Did you also know that recycling wood pallet is also good for the environment? Here are two ways recycling wood pallets helps the environment:
In the United States, its estimated that there are more than 4 billion pallets in circulation. According to the study Pallet Re-Use and Recycling Saves High-Value Material from Landfills, it’s estimated that 51 million pallets were recovered from landfills, however, recent data suggests that number has grown by 700%! More and more wood pallets are recovered from landfills because wood pallets are recyclable.
According to the same study, in 2006 it was estimated that pallet reuse and recycling saved about 5.7 billion board feet of lumber. This is because wood pallets that have reached the end of their life cycle are 100% recyclable. There’s absolutely no good reason why wood pallets should be thrown away in landfills. Within the wood pallet industry, they can be dismantled and the boards will be reused to repair other wood pallets. In other wholesale applications, the wood can be ground to make things like garden mulch or animal bedding for farms. And for the crafty DIY community, the uses for wood pallets in home décor are endless!
Wood Pallets Store Carbon
Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere depletes the ozone layer and impacts global temperatures. Young, fast growing trees pull carbon from the air during photosynthesis, store the carbon within their trunks and branches, and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. The carbon continues to be stored in wood products until it either burns or naturally decomposes. The chemical composition of wood products is about 50% carbon so recycling wood products prevent carbon from being re-released into the atmosphere!
To learn more about wood pallets and the carbon cycle, watch this 2 minute YouTube video:
North American Forests Are Sustainable
According to the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers, it’s estimated that rainforest deforestation in developing countries is responsible for approximately 11 percent of global carbon emissions. However, North American forests are continuously pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it in solid wood. Because these forests are growing more than they are harvested, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that U.S. forests currently serve as a carbon ‘sink’, offsetting approximately 13% of U.S. emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Voluntary third-party forest certification began in the 1990s in response to market concerns about forest management and illegal logging, primarily in developing countries. Two commonly used forest certification programs in North America include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Programs like these are designed to assure consumers that the wood products they purchase have been produced sustainably. They are also assured that these forests are doing their part to offset fossil fuel carbon emissions. Visit this site for more information on these programs.
About Nature’s Packaging
Nature’s Packaging is a marketing initiative sponsored by the Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association, the National Wood Pallet & Container Association, and the Western Pallet Association. Their goal is to demonstrate wood pallet sustainability through research and science. To contact Nature’s Packaging please visit their website.