Pallets are a necessary byproduct of modern manufacturing. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, nearly 500 million pallets are made each year, and there are almost 2 billion in circulation.
The sheer number of pallets has made its disposal problematic. Instead of sending them to the landfill, pallets can and should be recycled for use in numerous landscape projects. Recycling helps our environment and gives you low cost, if not free, alternatives to expensive, store-bought project material.
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Planters (vertical or horizontal)
Pallet design makes it simple to convert them into planters. The simplest method is laying the pallet on the ground and filling it with soil. The frame of the pallet holds the soil in while making it simple to maintain your plants. For more creative planters, combining pallets to form boxes or using landscaping fabric on one side of the pallet to hold the soil in gives you a quick and attractive vertical planter.
All pallets are not created equal. Pressure-treated pallets don’t make good planters for edibles. They are stronger, however than fresh-cut, non-treated pallets. Removing the back slats on pressure treated pallets and laying them in a row through your garden or backyard gives you an attractive boardwalk. Choose pallets that are in very good shape with closely spaced slats for the best results.
A simple pallet privacy fence can be created by connecting pallets together. Stiffen the structure with the inclusion of fence posts at regular intervals. By removing slats or adding braces, you can turn a plain pallet into a unique and striking structure.
Instead of buying an expensive compost bin, use pallets arranged in a square to make a simple but effective bin. Again, avoid using pressure-treated pallets to keep the compost healthy for use on your garden plants. Recycling the materials to make your compost bin is more satisfying than buying one, especially one that is not environmentally friendly.
Because pallets are so inexpensive, taking them apart to use the wood is a viable recycling project. Slats, sharpened on one end, make useful garden stakes or plant markers. The slats can be cut down to create edge pieces for defining gardens or shrubs. In fact, the entire pallet can be reduced to wood chips to create ground cover around your plants or trees.
Sturdy outdoor furniture can be created from pallets with just a few simple tools and a dash of creativity. Adding caster wheels to the corners of a pallet makes a simple, but effective coffee table for your patio. Potting tables are a popular project for using pallets. Benches, decks and many other projects that use pallets as the base can be created to meet your needs.
Tips on making your projects easier
When using pallets for your projects, there are a couple of things to remember:
- Pressure-treated pallets should not be used around edible plants. Heat treated pallets are commonly available and are safe to use.
- Inspect your pallets before use. The wood used in pallets can vary widely. Anything from soft pines to hardwoods are common, but you want to use pallets that are in decent shape and haven’t been used to store chemicals or toxic waste. As inexpensive as pallets are, if you don’t know what a pallet has been used for, let it go.
- Landscape fabric is very useful when making pallet projects. It is perfect for holding soil in the pallet and can be cut easily. A heavy-duty stapler makes it easy to install.
- Ensure that you have the proper tools for the job. Pallets are easy to work with but having the right hammers, pliers, saws, and other tools will make the project more enjoyable.
There are projects where you will want to use new pallets. By ordering them from companies like PalletAnywhere.com you can be guaranteed that you will get the highest quality, safest pallet available.