It’s Friday the 13th, considered by some to be the unluckiest day of the year, and a time when superstitions abound. Between walking under ladders and crossing the paths of black cats, some pallet customers have also heard common superstitions about pallets. Like the seven years of bad luck that comes with shattering a mirror, these misconceptions are based on old wives’ tales and incorrect information. We’d like to take the opportunity to clear the air and dispel some of the myths you may have heard about pallets.
Myth #1: Wood pallets contribute to deforestation.
Not true! Trees are almost never cut down for the express purpose of building pallets. Pallets are made of the wood left over after higher-grade lumber is used for other essential products, such as furniture and building materials. Forests that are harvested sustainably are stronger and less prone to wildfires, so pallet manufacturing is not a hindrance to healthy forests.
Myth #2: Softwood pallets are not as sturdy as hardwood pallets.
It’s easy to see why this myth persists. “Soft” wood isn’t actually softer or less sturdy than hardwood. Those distinctions have to do with the density of the wood, which doesn’t have an impact on how sturdy the pallets themselves are.
Myth #3: Paper pallets are cheaper and better for the environment than wood pallets.
Paper pallets require the lumber go through extra processing, which uses up energy and raises cost. They also are less durable, requiring you to replace them more frequently. If you’re trying to save trees or money, paper pallets aren’t the way to do it.
Myth #4: Pallets are not environmentally sustainable.
Wood pallets in particular have a long life cycle due to the fact that they can be reused and repaired multiple times. Even when a pallet can no longer be used, the material can be recycled for a wide variety of uses, including animal bedding, mulch and filter socks. Plastic pallets, while more durable than wood pallets, are much more difficult to repair and are not biodegradable.
Myth #5: Pallet wood shouldn’t be used for building projects.
While pallet projects have become wildly popular in recent years, there are some who say pallet wood that carried food or chemicals or has not been heat-treated are not suitable for building. In reality, contaminated pallet wood is very rare, and residue can often be cleaned off of reclaimed wood easily. While heat treating does kill any tree larvae that may be transported in the pallet lumber, it makes no difference in the safety of using the wood, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not your reclaimed wood was heat-treated.
We hope this list helps you make more informed decisions regarding your purchase and use of pallets.