5 things to know when reusing pallets
Would you like to reuse pallets in DIY projects? Wood pallets are recyclable, they are made of wood and are very cheap, if you recover instead of buying them. Therefore, they seem the ideal basic materials for your projects of creative recycling. It may happen, however, that the pallets have been treated with potentially toxic chemicals.
Therefore, it is advisable to know the origin of the pallet, the use that has been made of it and to consider the future use you will do as well. Here some tips to reuse pallets safely.
With which substances has it been treated?
Beware of pallets coming from the U.S.There, in fact, the USDA requires that pallets are subjected to a specific treatment against parasites and pathogens, before being shipped abroad. The pallets can be treated only with heat, or by the application of methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide that has been linked to health risks and to the ozone layer depletion. Therefore, pay atention to the acronyms marked on the pallet : HT indicates the treatment with heat, MB indicates the use of methyl bromide.
What were your pallets used for?
Pallets can be used for the transport of toxic or polluting materials. They may have been loaded on lorries and ships in awful sanitary conditions. In some cases, as evidenced by the National Consumer League of the United States, on the pallets there may be germs responsible for E.coli and Listeria. But, to be honest, I think one should be very unluckty to find a pallet contaminated by such terribel bacteria!
How to clean and disinfect the pallet?
You could try to disinfect and clean your pallet with soap and water, vinegar or other cleaning substances, in the attempt to remove bacteria or other contaminants but none of these remedies is considerd as sure and in addition, the wood is very porous and may have absorbed unwanted substances that are difficult to be removed. Better to rely on pallets of safe origins, used, for example, to carry paper or textile products.
How will you reuse the pallet?
The use of your pallet outdoor is recommended as considered as the safest. Pallets can be used for example as bicycle racks or coffee table. And even there, the experts recommend caution in the use of pallet which are supposed to come into direct contact with the garden. In these cases, you should be sure that the pallets have not been treated with toxic substances. To protect the health and respect of the environment, you should never burn pallets in your fireplace.
How to get safe pallets?
You should get in touch with local companies that can ensure that pallets are not being used for shipment of chemicals or materials that may have contaminated the wood. You may also contact a pallet manufacturers directly, and ask for some materials to be discarded because considered imperfect. The pallets are valuable materials for creative recycling, but must be reused with attention and common sense.