The Stawell Times-News

How pallet recycling contributes to circular economy: Born Again Pallets

Born Again Pallets aims to contribute to a circular economy. Picture supplied
Born Again Pallets aims to contribute to a circular economy. Picture supplied

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The circular economy is a common concept when it comes to sustainability and waste reduction. In essence, it means promoting the reuse and recycling of materials and products, instead of simply labelling them as waste once they have been used. A truly circular economy will see a material recycled or reused time and time again, thereby 'closing the loop'.

Wooden pallets are one such product that are quickly discarded after use in the traditional linear economy. Pallets have been a common waste type throughout Australia for many years, while efforts to find a more sustainable approach have languished. However, recycling pallets does indeed contribute to a more sustainable logistics industry, and a truly circular economy.

Let's take a look at how it all works.

How can pallets be recycled?

Transport and shipping pallets are traditionally made from hard and soft woods, most of which are highly recyclable. In the past, and still today, once goods had been unloaded and the pallets emptied, they were simply discarded or thrown into skip bins. However, because pallets are made from highly recyclable materials, there's a much better option.

These pieces can be reused, repurposed, or recycled in a number of ways.

Refurbished pallets

The majority of pallets can be refurbished and used again for shipping or transport purposes. It's only pallets that are seriously damaged or have reached the end of their useful life that cannot be refurbished and reused. Refurbishing pallets and utilising these instead of brand-new pallets is effectively closing the loop - no waste is produced, and the manufacturing process is eliminated.

Repurposed into crates and cases

Crates and cases are other important assets in the shipping industry. Breaking down used pallets and turning the materials into crates and cases for transportation is another way to effectively contribute to a circular economy. Again, the wood material is being reused, and will not become waste. Moreover, these crates and cases offer a more affordable and sustainable option for logistics companies and other businesses.

Furniture and other items

Pallets provide plenty of options when it comes to repurposing. In fact, Born Again Pallets turn a huge amount of waste material into a range of different products, including furniture. This includes all manner of benches, tables, chairs, event furniture, benches, bars, planter boxes and so much more.

Sometimes, a circular economy depends on smart options. When pallets can be broken down and turned into useful items such as party or outdoor furniture, the loop is firmly closed. The result is a much more environmentally friendly outcome... and some incredibly useful new products.

Backing sustainable businesses

Businesses that focus on recycling and repurposing products are the key to a circular economy. It is these businesses that drive change, reduce waste, and help to conserve natural resources wherever possible.

Innovation and jobs

A circular economy encourages innovation, particularly among businesses that maintain a firm focus on sustainability. It is these businesses and their people who find new ways to recycle and repurpose items and materials, including pallets. Their innovation means less waste material produced, and more useful products on the market.

This innovation goes even further, having contributed to creating more durable products and smarter ways of transporting goods. The demand for sustainable practices continues to grow and with that, funding for research and development. As a whole, the entire logistics industry benefits.

Employment numbers also benefit from more recycling and repurposing. Organisations that turn pallets into usable products require employees, and this sector continues to grow as the loop gradually closes. This is exactly why wooden pallet recycling companies continue to have a fantastic impact on the environment, and the wider economy.

The last word

Recycling pallets is an incredibly effective process and creates an array of opportunities in terms of new products. And in the end, it means fewer trees cut down and less virgin materials used to manufacture new pallets. It also results in less energy and resources spent on making these pallets. In a circular economy, everyone wins.