If you’re wondering how to recycle wood pallets on a farm, you’ll find that the Internet is loaded with ideas. There are all kinds of pallet projects you can try, but to make sure you’re using your pallets safely and productively, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Do You Dispose of Wooden Pallets?
- How Are Pallets Recycled? 9 Options
- 1. Build a Fence: How to Use Wooden Pallets for a Fence
- 2. Composting: How to Make a Compost Bin from Wooden Pallets
- 3. Storage Rack: Tool Storage and More
- 4. Creep Feeder for Animals
- 5. Loading Chutes
- 6. Pallet Furniture, Flooring, and Decorations
- 7. Portable Chicken Coop
- 8. Goat Playground
- 9. Gardening Ideas for Pallets
- Does Anyone Collect Used Pallets?
How Do You Dispose of Wooden Pallets?
One of the easiest ways to recycle wooden pallets is to donate them to a recycling facility. Recyclers often collect pallets to be reused. Especially if they were only used for basic farm-related tasks like shipping feed, they are often just gently used and can easily be repaired and refurbished.
If they’re beyond repair, recycling facilities might use them for mulch. You may even be able to get a small payment for pallets of various sizes and materials when you return them.
Sometimes you can sell used pallets or give them away, too. There are scrap pallet buyers that will buy pallets for the wood or to sell back to other companies. If you don’t care about getting any money for your pallets, then just putting them by the side of the road with a “free” sign is always an option as well.
Some farmers prefer just to burn old pallet wood to get rid of it. This isn’t the best idea.
Although most pallet wood will burn fast and hot, allowing you to dispose of it in a jiffy, it’s often treated with harmful chemicals that can make you sick if you breathe in the fumes. Often, nails and other fasteners will be left behind, too, posing a potential hazard in your firepit.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can recycle wooden pallets instead of discarding them. Throwing out wooden pallets is a waste of resources, so instead, you should consider some of the options below for recycling them.
How Are Pallets Recycled? 9 Options
Here are nine fun ideas you can try if you want to use up a stack of pallet wood on your farm.
1. Build a Fence: How to Use Wooden Pallets for a Fence
Building a wooden fence out of pallets is one of the easiest ways to repurpose them. You have a few options here.
You can either pry apart each individual board and re-nail it according to the fence specifications and measurements you already have in mind, or you can create a more rudimentary fence by positioning your pallets upright in a line and hooking them together.
The latter option works great for containing livestock while the first is better if you’re trying to achieve a more polished look.
2. Composting: How to Make a Compost Bin from Wooden Pallets
Building a compost bin is one of the best ways to repurpose and reuse old pallet wood. There are countless different plans you can follow, but if you search for compost pallet projects online, you’re sure to find one that works well for the materials you already have on hand.
The simplest design is to make a compost bin out of three wood pallets:
- Make two corners by using 4X4s;
- Secure each wood pallet to the back corners with heavy-duty wire (zip ties will even work in a pinch);
- You can then add front pieces, if desired, to secure the open corners, or you can insert stakes through the gaps in the wood pallet slats into the ground.
This design will create an open-air style compost that has no cover on top and rests directly on the ground. That way, it’s easy to turn and aerate your bin.
If you want to get more advanced than that, you can make a three-bin compost system that will allow you to have:
- One compost pile, in which ingredients are still being added (an unfinished pile)
- One compost pile in which ingredients are finishing up the decomposition process but no new ones are being added (a “cooking” pile); and
- One from which finished compost may be extracted.
Simply create the same kind of bin described above, but do it three times with each new pallet compost bin adjoining the next. You can even build a cover out of an additional wood pallet, if you choose!
3. Storage Rack: Tool Storage and More
If you have a ton of shovels, hoes, rakes, or other tools that are doing little more than posing a tripping hazard in your garage or barn, consider positioning a few pallets on end against the wall. They’ll provide you with a sturdy place to store your tools.
4. Creep Feeder for Animals
Whether you have lambs, kids, or calves, creep feeding is an essential part of the weaning process – but specialized creep feeders are expensive!
You can make a DIY creep feeder by prying apart pallet boards and re-positioning them with wider gaps that a small animal’s head can easily fit through to reach the hay or grain.
5. Loading Chutes
Livestock like sheep are notoriously difficult to move, but building chutes can help you manage them easier. Unfortunately, loading chutes are quite expensive. You can make a loading chute out of old pallets (hooked end to end for as long as you need) to make your life a little easier.
Pallets can even be fashioned into handling systems like lambing jugs to help you manage your animals a bit easier!
Here’s a quick video that will walk you through how to make a small chute for working with animals:
6. Pallet Furniture, Flooring, and Decorations
Although it can require a bit more time and DIY-er talent, building pallet furniture, flooring, and decorations is another option for using up all of your old pallets. You can make everything from cute interior signs to tables and even flooring!
7. Portable Chicken Coop
There are all kinds of structures and outbuildings you can make with old wood pallets – but a portable chicken coop is easy enough to build and cheap, too. Just pry the old wood off each pallet and use it to build a coop to your desired specifications.
Pallet wood can sometimes be tough to work with but the good news is that, since it’s usually pressure treated, it’s slower to warp. By adding wheels to the bottom of the coop, it will make it much easier to move around.
8. Goat Playground
If you have goats, you know that, without the proper opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation, they can easily become bored – and quite destructive! To avoid this, use your old pallets to build a goat playground.
You can deconstruct the pallets and use the scrap wood to design a more advanced play space or you can just stack them in piles and make it a goat free-for-all. It’s up to you! Just make sure there aren’t any stray nails or splinters that could injure your goats while they frolic.
9. Gardening Ideas for Pallets
If you like to garden, there are plenty of ways you can use old wood pallets in your projects. You can build a pallet potting bench to hold all of your containers, gardening tools, and bags of soil (and to serve as a workstation as you work with your plants).
Alternatively, you can create a vertical garden for herbs, strawberries, and other kinds of plants that like to grow in a more upright fashion. A homemade pallet garden can be placed anywhere, even on an apartment balcony.
Plus, you won’t have to disassemble the pallet or do any advanced construction – just attach some terracotta pots, fill them with soil, and plant your seeds!
One note on using pallets for the garden – if you decide to do this, just keep in mind that some may be treated with chemicals that you might not necessarily want polluting your garden.
Does Anyone Collect Used Pallets?
You can always call around to find a recycling company that will come by and pick up your old, used pallets. While you might not get any money or extra uses by getting rid of a wood pallet in this way, the plus side is that you won’t have to deal with the clutter anymore!
Just know that recycling a wood pallet is a far better option than throwing it in the trash. Estimates suggest that pallet reuse and recycling can save roughly 5.7 billion board feet of lumber.
Using alternative materials to wood (such as plastic or metal) for building pallets can help conserve resources, for sure.
However, finding pallet projects like these to reuse old wood pallets is a far more enjoyable and eco-friendly alternative!