In this day and age recycling anything that moves has become popular. However, while recycling is a good thing it pales in comparison to re-using because it usually involves more effort to recycle and further costs. So, here are some ideas for pallet recycling without having to pull your pallets apart.
Ideas for Pallet Recycling
When gardeners design their paths and pathways they usually do so thinking of the most trendiest material to construct them from. Little thought is given as to where that material was sourced – case in point are decorative pebbles – and possibly even less thought is given to reusing, or recycling, items that have served their purpose elsewhere.
How to use Pallets as a Pathway
Pallet recycling in pathways isn’t the easiest use for them and the home gardener will need to think carefully before installation. Firstly, pallets have to remain level so if you’re thinking of using them to cover a gentle slope – think again. Your pathway really needs to remain level for the full distance or use pallets as steps to break the slope down.
Secondly, your pallets will have to be in very good condition using hardwoods that aren’t prone to rotting or termite infestations. If they’re liable to break then you could be creating a serious hazard in your backyard.
However, recycling pallets into a pathway does offer one advantage – if the pallet breaks then it’s very easy to lift and replace.
Vertical gardens are another great option for pallet recycling. If you can find a wall that’s strong enough, and wide enough, to accomodate a pallet filled with plants then why not start vertical gardening. Fern, from Life on the Balcony, has already written a great step-by-step process on how to create a vertical garden from a pallet.
Building compost heaps with recycled pallets is very easy to do. You will need at least 5-7 pallets in order to construct a 2-3 bin system.
First, stand one of your pallets on its edge with the hollow going through to the ground. On the inside of the pallet, at each end, hammer a metal stake into the ground to retain it. Then continue again with another two pallets to construct a “U”. Then, add another two pallets to form two “U’s” and continue adding them to make as many compost bins as required – or as space permits.
If you need something visual to understand the concept take a look at this post on how to build compost bins.
The main advantage of pallet recycling for a compost heap is that the pallet construction allows air to circulate throughout the heap and they are so quick and easy to construct that you could be making compost within 30 minutes.
Building fences with recycled pallets is not too dissimilar to constructing compost bins. Pallets can be up-ended and located to suit your needs. You might want a low fence to keep a pet at bay, or a barricade to keep larger animals out of your vegetable patch. Whatever the reason, wherever you may need a quick fence, pallet recycling can offer a great alternative.
Pallet recycling around the house also has its benefits. One option is to build a deck that juts out from the house and creates a space to sit and enjoy the garden.
Much like using recycled pallets for a pathway, using pallets for a deck requires some forethought and a great deal of preparation. The ground that they will reside upon should either be levelled, or stumps erected to keep the pallets of the soil. If you don’t get this part right then you will find that the pallets move too much as you walk upon them.
However, it’s a very inexpensive way to create a deck that can be used for years and add value to your home if done correctly.
Planter boxes are one of the best uses for pallet recycling. In order to make one, cut a pallet in half in line with the horizontal boards. This should give you two smaller pallets which become the sides of the planter box.
Perform the same task again but this time cut one of those halves in half again but this time vertically. These will become your ends. (They will require another piece of timber at one of the ends to brace it).
Then, find a piece of square timber that can be cut-down to make four corner posts. These will sit between each side and end piece and require a bracket to join the two.
Now that you have a completed planter box fill will soil and add some of your favourite plants.
More Info on Pallet Recycling
There are many places to find pallets ready to be recycled or re-used. Here’s a list in order of the least inexpensive;
- Waste disposal sites
- Building sites
- Freight companies
- Shipping yards or ports
- Recycling yards
- Garden Supplies
All pallets are not made equal so be selective in which ones you bring home. Different timbers. Different treatments. Painted or unpainted. They can vary so much so ask questions and find ones that will best suit your desired construction.
Photo source: futureshape