On my journey to work each morning I would drive past an industrial site that stored old wooden pallets. These would be stacked on top of each other in multiple piles, exposed to the elements of all weather, and every few months they would disappear and then the piles would start to grow again. It got me thinking about what exactly happens to these?
Wooden pallets are used widely by many businesses for the packaging and shipping of products. This allows them to be easily and safely handled by a forklift or front loader. Over time these receive a lot of ‘wear and tear’, although these will be regularly maintained and repaired there will be a time when these are beyond repair and will become ‘redundant’. Depending on the quality, these pallets are made from either soft or hard wood, although the overall structure is no longer strong enough the wood can generally still be in good condition. To reduce the amount of wastage going into skips, landfill sites or being burnt, these are now cleverly being re-cycled, re-claimed and re-invented.
We are now a society who is very much aware of the impact we have on the environment especially when it comes to disposing waste products. Rummaging through skips and regular visits to tips can result in some clever finds. How does the expression go?
‘ONE MAN’S JUNK IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE’
We all like the idea of taking something that is no longer fit for purpose and using the materials in different ways to create completely new objects and uses. This is the smart and thrifty way of thinking resulting in unique and innovative products.
Here are my top 5 favourite products:
1/ Reclaimed wooden floor
A beautiful parquet flooring has been achieved by dismantling wooden pallets and using the individual planks. Special care has been taken to ensure nails have been carefully removed. The individual lengths of wood are planned or sanded to achieve a smooth finish. Using a range of pallets can result in a variation of colour and texture across the whole floor once laid. Oil, varnish and dyes can be used to achieve your own desired effect.
2/ Recycled wall covering
This is a whole new take on traditional wood panelling. The wood has been prepared in the same way as the flooring. Individual planks can then be secured horizontally, vertically or diagonally on the wall, depending on what type of effect you are trying to achieve. Overall, the result is an interesting feature wall.
3/Re-invented Wall Storage
This is a clever storage solution for narrow spaces where shelves may be too deep. Simply cut the pallet into sections and secure in place. The wood has been left untreated and still retains all of its imperfections.
4/Recycled Coffee Table
Create your own bespoke coffee table by simply re-cycling a wooden pallet. Add a pair of wheels recycled from a railway car and this allows easy movement. The natural wood effect combined with the rusted iron wheels gives an industrial look to this table.
5/ Re-cycled Day Bed
What better way to spend those long summer days lazing in the garden than on this stylish swing day bed. This can easily be achieved in a few hours. Four wooden pallets have been secured together, and then suspended on rope from a sturdy tree. Use a single mattress or a range of scatter cushions to create comfort.
RECYCLING WORKS MASSACHUSETTS (2013) recycled pallets [Online image] Available from:
http://www.recyclingworksma.com/how-to/materials-guidance/recycle-pallets [ Accessed: 22.01.2014]
MY FAMILY SURVIVAL PLAN (2013) recycled flooring [Online image] Available from:
MY FAMILY SURVIVAL PLAN (2013) recycled wall coverings [Online image] Available from:
MY FAMILY SURVIVAL PLAN (2013) recycled wall shelf [Online image] Available from:
REMOVE AND REPLACE (2014) coffee table on wheel [Online image] Available from:
CURBLY (2006) recycled day bed [Online image] Available from: