From gardens to flooring to furniture, using pallets for DIY projects is a great way to upcycle, save money, and stay eco-friendly. And the best part is, there are a range of places to source free pallets in order to save even more green.
Mom n’ Pop Shops
Larger businesses are likely to have tons of pallets to offload, but you’re less likely to have success sourcing free ones there. That’s because they likely have a system in place that allows them to streamline getting rid of used pallets, which probably doesn’t include giving them away.
Soliciting free pallets from small businesses will probably grant you more success, since small businesses don’t usually have room in their budgets to hire a company to haul away unneeded pallets. Hardware stores, garden shops, newspaper or print companies, small grocery stores, and pet stores are all places you can call to see if they would be willing to give you any of their unneeded pallets.
There is a such thing as a pallet recycler company, and this is an excellent place to source free pallets. These recyclers commonly receive pallets that are great quality yet are non-standard in size, meaning that they’re worth very little. Visit these recyclers to see if they have any pallets that they are looking to get rid of.
Like in the case of many other things, the world wide web makes it easy to find free pallets. Try using a site like Cragislist to place an advertisement searching for pallets. You’ll be surprised how many people are looking to find a good home for pallets they don’t need, making it a win-win situation for all involved. Other places to look are Facebook Marketplace, the app LetGo, or the site Freecycle. Finally, the site 1001 Pallets features a section of pallets that people are looking to give away.
Businesses that recently opened are a great place to visit in pursuit of free pallets. This is because these businesses likely received large shipments in order to stock their shelves. Stop in and inquire as to whether they have any pallets they’d be willing to part with as you welcome them to the neighborhood.
Whether a new commercial building or home is in the making, construction sites are a good place to source free pallets as well as scrap lumber. Stop by these sites and see if you can take any off their hands—these items often end up being burned at the end of a project.
Keep the Industry in Mind
Refrain from sourcing from companies that expose wood to dangerous materials. For instance, you might not want pallets from a pesticide or chemical processing company around your home.
Be strategic when it comes to picking up free pallets. The “healthiest” ones seem to come from dry goods industries. This is because they’re exposed to lightweight goods that don’t spill or stain the wood.
Carefully Examine Pallets
When you come across free pallets, examine them carefully before taking them home. Look for stains, feel them for moisture (which could lead to mold) and even smell them to ensure they’re not carrying any unfortunate odors.
Dress for the Part
Bring gloves and a mask with you to stay safe. Pallets can give you a splinter or have nails sticking out of them, and sandy or dusty pallets might require you to wear a mask while you’re examining and handling them.
Even if you’re simply driving around town and see some pallets behind a business or next to a dumpster, don’t assume that they’re up for grabs. Ask the owner if it’s okay to take the pallets before you scurry off with them to ensure that you don’t ruffle any feathers.
Don’t Take Branded Pallets
Pallets that are branded should not be taken. They’re typically marked because they’ll eventually make their way back to whomever’s name they boast. If you take them and the brand finds out, they may pursue you to request their pallets back.
Develop a Pallet Network
When you find a small business or anywhere else that has provided you quality free pallets, work to build a relationship with them. Exchange contact information so you can potentially use them time and time again for more free project materials.
Finding your free pallets is only half the fun! There are countless projects you can complete with these pieces of wood to enhance your home or yard.