Wood Pallet Recycling


Wood pallet recycling can be hobbyist or commercial. This can include small businesses that upcycle pallets or hobbyists. The possibilities for wood pallet projects are limitless for creative hobbyists. This article focuses on commercial pallet recycle, which includes the sorting, repair and resale, as well the grinding of non-usable material. The wood pallet industry is becoming more important in the area of pallet recycling.

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Background on Wood Pallet Recycling

Wood pallet recycling can be described as the process of sorting, refurbishing and dismantling pallets to make them available for sale. It also includes the grinding of wood pallets as well as components for making fiber products. Pallet recyclers are only interested in recycling pallets as an option. It is much more profitable to resell pallets, or refurbish them.

In 2011, 474 million pallets had been recovered, and 326 millions of them were put back into service as pallets. The remaining 148 million pallets were used to make other products.

Recyclers are most attracted to the most common sizes of pallets. This would include the 48×40″ standard pallet in the USA, along with other popular sizes like 42×42″, 48×48″, and 48×48″.


Pallet recycling businesses are located near urban areas, as well as other locations like distribution centers and manufacturing plants where excess empty pallets accumulate. Pallet recyclers can buy empty pallets from customers or acquire them in other ways. If the pallets have low resale values due to their unpopular sizes or other construction attributes they may charge the customer to remove the pallets. Cores’ value is dependent on the local market and sales prospects.

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Large recycling companies might have their own fleet of trailers or use a transport company to deliver inbound. The pallets arriving at the depot are usually sorted into different sizes or grades.

You can sort pallets into:

  • Popular sizes and grades available for sale without repairs
  • repairable pallets,
  • pallets for dismantling,
  • Unwanted components and pallets to be ground into wood fiber.

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Wood pallet recyclers are often involved in secondary markets, purchasing, refurbishing, and selling used pallets. Pallet recyclers can also provide pallet repair services for customers. They may also retrieve customer-owned pallets for those customers. The sales department of pallet recycling companies sells pallets. Pallet brokers act as intermediaries between pallet buyers and pallet recyclers. Pallet recyclers can also sell fiber products made from recycled pallets. These include raw fiber and value-added offerings like colored landscape mulch or wood pellets.

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Wood Pallet Recovery from Landfills

Wood pallets have seen significant improvements in recycling and diversion of landfills. Recent research on wood pallet recycling and landfills shows that 95% of wood pallets can be recycled into reusable materials. In 2016, only 25.39 million wooden pallets went to C&D and MSW landfills, compared with 178.5 million in 1998. Further, only 1.8% of wood was landfilled in a municipal solid waste landfill while 5.6% were landfilled at a construction or demolition landfill.