Pallet Recycling

Pallet Recycling

There are more than 1.8 billion pallets in service in the United States each day and 93% of them are made from wood.  Wood pallets are 100% recyclable.  A 2018 study by Virginia Tech found that over 95% of all wood pallets are recycled.  

Pallet recycling is not only the right thing to do environmentally, but also makes economic sense.   Whether selling surplus pallets to be recycled and used again or buying recycled pallets, the benefits of wood pallet recycling are significant.

The benefits of surplus wood pallet recycling

Surplus wood pallets can generate significant income - if you have the right partner.  Most pallets have value and can be inspected, repaired and returned to the supply chain. While some odd-sized or severely damaged pallets may have little or no value, these can still be ground for landscape mulch, fuel or other products.

Relogistics can help you recover maximum compensation for your surplus wood pallets.  Many of our programs compensate the customer for ALL pallets regardless of type, size or condition.

As part of our comprehensive pallet management services, we can service any location nationwide, and we will stage the necessary number of trailers to remove all surplus pallets. We can also perform pickups seven days a week, if needed. Our desire is to eliminate the hassle of wood pallet recycling

Audit trail and reporting

All activity is tracked in Relogistics’ proprietary online system, Velocity, which creates a complete audit trail, allowing the customer to be confident they have been properly compensated for each and every pallet.

Velocity is available online anytime and provides complete visibility to all transactions.  In addition, Relogistics provides regular, customized, comprehensive reporting of all activity.

Recycled Pallets Sales

After use, wood pallets are inspected, repaired and then sold to manufacturers to ship products. These recycled wood pallets perform as good as new pallets at safely moving their contents through the supply chain – but cost much less compared to new pallets.

Supplying recycled pallets is only part of what Relogistics does. First and foremost, our job is to make sure our customers have the right pallet, of any type or size, when and where they need them. We're not tied down to a single supplier or location, and during times of high volume, we have the resources to find secondary suppliers as needed, accounting for details like pallet recycling prices and pallet supply availability.

Relogistics can also offer recycled pallets with no out-of-pocket expense. Customers with surplus wood pallets can trade these for ready-to-go pallets when and where needed. Our resources and management programs have allowed multiple clients to acquire pallets without having to go out of pocket to purchase them.

Relogistics recently provided a customer’s new distribution center with ready to go pallets in exchange for a certain number of surplus pallets at a later date. This eliminated the need for the customer to come out of pocket for the purchases and ensured a smooth transition before the facility opened.

The Relogistics difference in pallets and pallet recycling

Whether purchasing ready-to-go recycled pallets or selling surplus pallets to be recycled, Relogistics can develop a cost-saving program to meet your specific needs. 

We aggressively seek out and identify the best solutions for your business.  We understand every supply chain is different, and our team of industry veterans will work to develop a customized pallet recycling solution for your unique supply chain and distribution model.

History of Pallet Recycling

While some wood pallets were used as early as the 1920s, the pallet really came into wide use by the U.S. military during World War II. The Army’s Quartermaster Corps and the Navy’s Bureau of Ordnance recognized the efficiency of moving large amounts of ordinance and other materials on a sturdy, standardized platform. After the war, the use of pallets grew significantly within supply chains around the world.

Various pallet sizes were used over time by different industries. Standardization in United States industry began in the early 1970s when the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association developed its 48x40 GMA pallet specification. It was a heavy duty, 48” x 40” wood stringer style pallet with 13/16” deck boars and true 2” x 4” stringers. This pallet was designed to be exchanged between grocery retailers and manufacturers and led to pallet repair as the life of the pallet was extended.

The GMA pallet exchange program and the specification deteriorated over time. However, the standardized 48” x 40” size became the most common size pallet in the U.S. Today, any stringer style pallet measuring 48” x 40” with 7 top boars and 5 bottom boards is generally called a “GMA pallet.

This increased use of the 48” x 40” pallet within the grocery industry led to wider use within other supply chains and ultimately increased repair and recycling of the pallet. By the 1990s, pallet recycling was widespread.

Pallets and pallet recycling today

Today, new wood pallets are typically constructed of “downfall” lumber – lumber that is not used for furniture, flooring etc.  After their initial use, wood pallets can efficiently be repaired with new lumber or boards salvaged from unrepairable pallets.  This allows the pallet to be used safely and efficiently over and over again. 

Virtually all pallets, regardless of size, can be recycled.  Pallets that cannot be repaired are “torn-down” and individual components reused for pallet repairs.  Waste material is grounded into landscape mulch, animal bedding and other beneficial uses.  

The wood pallet has become essential to the global supply chain.  In fact, Slate magazine declared in 2012 that the pallet is “The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy.”