Pallet Management Fact
Office of Pollution
managementUsed pallets can present a serious disposal
problem for businesses and industries. Which may be a working waste reduction or
recycling program, a company must dispose of the pallets which may be
accumulating on its loading dock, often at significant expense. Managers and
owners who have problems with pallets should consider the following techniques.
- Examine the current use of pallets to determine
why they become a waste.
- Take note of the size, the types, and the number
of pallets being purchased/hauled off and their use requirements.
- Note the costs that your company incurs to
purchase, handle, and dispose of the pallets.
Investigate waste elimination/reduction
- Have suppliers take back their pallets.
- Ask customers to return pallets to you for reuse.
- Investigate a no-pallet material handling system
such as slipsheets or durable racks.
- Change pallet size or quality specifications to
promote reuse and recycling.
- Use plastic lumber-type pallets made from
post-consumer recycled plastic.
Consider pallet management strategies
reduce the number of pallets that your company is handling, consider
standardizing the size of incoming and outgoing pallets.
- Work with vendors to supply incoming materials on
pallets that your company can use to ship out its final product.
addition to handling and disposal costs for each pallet not reused,
companies can pay up to $8.50 or more for each new full-sized pallet.
standard-size pallets such as a 48 in. by 40 in. four-way are used, the
markets and value for used pallets will improve as labor for sorting is
reduced and the quantity of standard-sized pallets available is increased.
- Standardization facilitates recycling.
- One way to handle excess pallets is through
exchanges between businesses.
- Resulting agreements between businesses to
exchange pallets can keep used pallets out of the waste stream and reduce
costs for new materials.
- Intra-county exchange programs can be expanded
into larger regional waste exchanges to increase the material pool.
- Another good exchange possibility is a sister
facility that can exchange pallets with your plant.
purchasing high quality, rebuildable pallets instead of cheaper models,
companies that use pallets regularly may realize savings of up to $3 to $4
per pallet by repairing them in-house.
- Industries can give wooden pallets away to
facilities that chip pallets for use as fuel, mulch, compost, or animal
bedding if the pallets are not treated or contaminated with hazardous or
- Companies with a small number of pallets can give
away clean scrap pallets to employees for firewood and, during the winter,
to the public to fuel wood stoves.
The information in this fact sheet was provided by the North Carolina
Office of Waste Reduction.
This Pollution Prevention Fact Sheet is just one of the many resources
available to you from DEQ. DEQ, through its Office of Pollution Prevention,
provides free, voluntary, non-regulatory, technical assistance and materials to
industry, governments, academia, non-profit organizations, and the general
public on how to prevent pollution. For more information on pollution prevention
strategies and techniques or to participate in Virginia’s annual Fall River
Renaissance, please contact:
Virginia Department of Environmental
629 East Main Street, 5th Floor
P.O. Box 10009
(804) 698-4545, FAX (804) 698-4346