Pallets: A Growing Source of Recycled Wood
Considerable volumes of solid hardwoods, solid softwoods, and wood panels are used to manufacture pallets and containers in the United States. Increasing quantities of these materials are recovered from the waste stream for reuse and recycling. Two important groups involved in this recovery and recycling are firms in the pallet industry (SIC 2448) and landfill operations (municipal solid waste landfills and construction and demolition waste landfills). Firms in the pallet industry received an estimated 83.3 million pallets for recycling in 1993. Municipal solid waste landfills processed approximately 880 thousand tons of pallets in 1995. At construction and demolition waste landfills, approximately 162 thousand tons of pallets were processed. Ground pallet material is used to produce mulch, bedding, compost, soil amendments, and fuel. Products with building and construction applications include particleboard, fiberboard, cement board, insulation board, and wood-plastic composites. Strip flooring holds perhaps the greatest potential as a high value-added product from pallet wood.