By: Mitchell Kamps
Shopping – it’s something that people do daily, out of necessity, to relieve stress and boredom, even for entertainment, but most people do not realize that those things we buy, whether simple, complex, cheap, expensive, large or small, spent at least some time on a wood pallet. Sometime in each item’s history, it was boxed, put onto a pallet, and shipped, most likely via truck, to your area, to a store in your area, and only then was it unpacked, displayed and made available for you to examine and purchase.
The wood pallet, though humble, is essential for our lives to run the manner they do. In fact, the pallet is “the single most important object in the global economy.”
Here are some fun facts about pallets:
- There are 2 billion pallets used in the U.S. supply chain. Worldwide, it’s estimate there will be 5 billion pallets in circulation by 2017.
- 9 out of 10 of those pallets are made of wood.
- 44% of the hardwood produced annually in the U.S. is used to make pallets. This is 3.2 billion board feet of lumber.
- Shipping by pallet allows for denser packaging and, therefore, more cost efficiency.
- Pallets can be used over and over again, are simple to repair, and when repair is no longer possible, recycle.
- Recycled pallet materials are used to make furniture and other materials.
- Unsalvageable pallets are ground up and used as mulch in gardens and playgrounds, as bedding for animals, and can even be burned as fuel.
Next time you see wood pallets, pause for a moment to acknowledge how its existence directly affects yours.