By Paul W. Norman for Cantarero Pallets, Inc. /January 2023
Whether your business recycles, refurbishes, or makes pallets from scratch, buying pallet wood can increase your efficiency and productivity. Leave behind the headache of sourcing fiber and cutting pallet wood yourself! In this blog, we cover the importance of wooden pallets and the benefits of buying pallet wood.
There are a few different options when choosing the kind of pallet to use- reliable wooden pallets, paper pallets, or plastic pallets. Your product, and the support needed in transit, will determine the kind of pallet you use. Wooden pallets are a favorite since they are cost-effective, durable, and sustainable.
The standard size of a wooden pallet is 48” x 40” and usually comprises a deck board and three or four stringers on the bottom for support. Pallet wood is made of leftover lumber once the higher grades are taken out. Since pallets are made from the bi-product of producing other cuts of lumber, it makes it extremely environmentally conscious because no new trees are being cut down to make pallets.
Since pallets are made from the bi-product of producing other cuts of lumber, it makes it extremely environmentally conscious because no new trees are being cut down to make pallets
Why are Wood Pallets Superior?
We briefly touched on why wood makes the best pallet, but let’s do a deep dive into why that is true. Wood pallets are the most cost-effective option. They are easier to manufacture than other pallets and are heavily used in most industries. You can buy the pallet wood and make the pallets yourself, which can save labor and money on new machinery.
Wooden pallets are stronger and more durable than the other options. Plastic pallets can hold up to 1,500 lbs., while properly constructed wooden pallets can hold up to 4,600 lbs. If you are supplying pallets or transportation to industries with heavy equipment, wooden pallets are the obvious choice for your business.
Wooden pallets can also be repaired and reused, with an average life cycle of ten years. Once wooden pallets reach the end of their life cycle, they can be turned into mulch, used in DIY projects, or recycled. Wooden pallets are completely biodegradable, so if not repaired or reused, they will breakdown in the landfill much faster than a plastic pallet. Wooden pallets and pallet wood are the best options for your pockets and the Earth.
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Life Cycle of Pallet Wood
The journey of pallet wood begins in the ground. On tree farms, seeds are planted to become the trees that will be used as pallet wood. Both softwood and hardwood can be used to make pallets. This includes southern yellow pine, spruce, cedar, oak, and maple. Softwood trees grow faster than hardwood trees.
Once the trees are fully grown, they will begin to be harvested by timber companies. Trees that are not fully grown will not be used for lumber and it takes several years for the softwoods to be ready to be harvested. Hardwoods are generally cut down from pre-existing forests. The timber companies may not own the trees, so they will purchase the right to cut them down and take them to their sawmills.
Milling is the next stop for pallet wood as it makes its way into the market. After the timber companies harvest the pallet wood, they take it to sawmills to be cut. The sawmills have the technology to scan the trees to see where the best cuts are and then the machine cuts based on that. This allows the sawmills to get the most out of each tree and to get as much high-grade lumber as possible.
Pallet wood is made from the excess wood that is left over after the higher grades are taken out. The wood that is left over is not any less durable or reliable. The lumber that pallet wood is made from is good quality lumber, it is just acquired sustainably and conscientiously.
Once the lumber is cut into smaller pieces, it must be treated before it can be sold for use. There are a few different treatments that can happen at this stage. First, all pallet wood must go through the drying process. This is where the wood is placed in a huge kiln and all the wood is dried until it reaches 19% moisture or below. This process is to make the wood less likely to warp and reduces the overall weight of the lumber.
There are other treatments that pallet wood may need to go through based on what it will be used for. If you are shipping internationally, then your pallet wood will have to be heat treated. This is where they put the pallet wood into a chamber-like kiln that will heat the wood at 140 degrees for at least 30 minutes. This is done to sterilize the pallet wood and eliminate all pests and other organisms. This is a part of the ISPM15 agreement that is required for most international shipments. Once the pallet wood has been heat treated, it will be given a stamp showing that it is safe to go into another country.
Manufacturing & Distributing
After, the milling and treatments are finished the pallet wood is finally ready to head to manufacturers and distributors. Here the pallet wood will be cut to meet the needs of the standard pallet or custom dimensions for a specific product.
If you are a pallet manufacturer, you may reach out to a distributor to get the pallet wood you need to build the pallets for your business. If you are packaging other products, you may reach out to a manufacturer for already-made pallets. At Cantarero Pallets, Inc., we can be both manufacturers and distributors, so we can provide all the needs of our customers.
A Pallet’s Impact
There are more than 1.8 billion pallets in use every single day, with 93% of those pallets being made of wood. They are one of the most essential parts of supply chain sustainability. Furthermore, 90% of all products in the United States are transported on wooden pallets. Pallets quite literally move the world!
Benefits of Buying Pallet Wood
For pallet manufacturers, it is essential to stay ahead of the competition and supply pallets to your customers with little to no errors. Here is what you are saving by buying pallet wood:
1. Labor Savings
Pallet wood and pre-cut pallet stock reduce the amount of labor you need substantially. The more complex or time-consuming the manufacturing process is, the more work it will require. Pallet wood saves on labor costs because your employees can spend time building and repairing the pallets instead of cutting the pallet wood into the correct dimensions.
2. Equipment Savings
When buying pallet wood, there is no need to have additional machinery and to pay for the continuous upkeep. Cutting bulk wood to specific dimensions requires large machinery, space to run, and the workforce trained to operate them. This all adds to a lot of time and money your business will spend cutting the lumber before it can ever be manufactured into a pallet.
3. Time Savings
Customization and specific needs can be cumbersome for your business to make. If you need stringers, for example, it can be tedious to cut the notches one at a time. When buying pallet wood, all of this is taken care of for you, allowing you to save time and make your business as efficient as possible. Once the order is placed, you no longer have to spend any more time on it.
Convenience is the biggest benefit of buying pallet wood. Owning a business means being able to delegate well and to those you trust. Having someone else to source the fiber, upkeep contracts with mills, and cut the pallet wood to exact dimensions allows you to focus your energy where it is most needed. Conner can be the supplier you trust!
Ordering Your Pallet Wood
Whether you are looking for deck boards, bottom boards, or stringers, we’ve got you covered! Here at Cantarero Pallets, Inc., we have all the necessary machinery needed to cut pallet wood to fit your unique needs. Use your labor to its maximum potential and remove the headache of cutting your own pallet wood.
Reach out to us today and see how we can help with all your pallet wood needs!