Bob Vila Radio: Pallet Recycling

Here are some things to consider when reusing wooden pallets as materials for a DIY project.

Everything from grocery store shipments to construction deliveries involves using a forklift to pick up and move a heavy load sitting on a wooden pallet. Did you ever wonder what happens to all those pallets after they’ve been used?


Listen to BOB VILA ON PALLET RECYCLING or read the text below:



Unfortunately, the vast majority of them end up in landfills. Millions of pallets each year are manufactured, used only one time, then dumped—and that’s a terrible waste.

A whole new industry has sprung up around recycling pallets, and there are lots of good project ideas out there that help you find new uses for them. But here’s the catch: The pallet you’re left with after unloading your delivery may be carrying more than you expected.

Pallet wood may have been treated with chemicals, or may have become infested with bugs or bacteria, so I don’t suggest using pallet wood for indoor projects. If the wood is stamped MB it means, it was chemically treated with the pesticide methyl bromide, so don’t reuse it at all. If it’s stamped HT that means it was heat treated, so you can think about recreating it as a potting bench, a window box, or even a bike rack.

It’s great to keep a pallet out of a landfill—just be sure to keep it out of your house as well.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.