The Life of a Wood Pallet in Portland, Oregon

A pallet’s life from seed to recycled lumber is a long one. Here’s all the steps in the life cycle of a Portland Oregon wood pallet.

In today’s modern and globalized economy, pallets quite literally make our markets possible. Even though pallets are so important to both domestic and international trade, many people don’t know much about them or their life cycle. Reach out for more information on plastic and wood pallets in Portland Oregon and which kind are best for your facility. Here is the growth of a pallet’s life:

  • Seedling
  • Growth
  • Logging and Milling
  • Construction
  • Distribution
  • Service
  • Repair and Recycle
  1. Seedling
    Wooden pallets begin as a trees. Both soft and hard wood is used in pallet construction. Soft woods include pine, spruce, and cedar; hard woods include oak, maple, and beech. The vast majority of pallets begin as seeds planted on tree farms, so the wood can be grown over and over again without damaging natural environments.
  2. Growth
    Over several years the seeds sprout and grow into trees, but only fully grown ones are used for lumber. Softwoods grow relatively quickly and are more likely to be produced in tree farms, while hardwoods are usually logged from already-existing forests.
  3. Logging and Milling
    When these trees are of a sufficient size, they are logged and taken to sawmills. Lumber is milled from the logs and is used for a variety of purposes, like constructing pallets. The size and shape of the lumber used for pallets depends on what pallets will be built. Pallets in the United States use 45% of domestic hardwood and 15% of our softwood.
  4. Construction
    The lumber is transported to pallet manufacturers to be used in pallets. The type of pallet constructed depends on the application and use case. The length, width, height, weight, board thickness and more can be fully altered to meet certain design and performance requirements.
  5. Distribution
    Once a pallet is constructed, it’s either sold to customers directly or sold to a distributor. Some companies sell their pallets outright, while others rent them out. These rental programs are also called pallet pools.
  6. A Pallet’s Service
    Once purchased, pallets are used to move goods around the country and globe. Pallets greatly speed up the manufacturing and distribution process, since they are much more stable methods for transporting cargo than the wooden box or barrel. Pallets see use in pharmaceuticals manufacturing, energy generation, consumer goods, automobile manufacturing, produce and agriculture and much more.
  7. Repair and Recycle: Extending the Life of a Pallet
    Inevitably, a pallet will become damaged throughout its journeys. Damaged pallets can usually be repaired multiple times, extending their life and allowing them to be used in other applications. Those pallets too damaged to be fixed are deconstructed for parts, which are either used to repair other pallets or are ground into mulch and biomass. Biomass is wooden pellets or chips that are burned to create energy. Pallet recycling is efficient, with over 95% of pallets being repaired, reused and recycled.

PNW Pallet has aggressive recycling goals with a minimal-landfill commitment. To learn more about Portland, Oregon buying, selling wood and plastic pallets and wood and plastic pallet removal and recycling in Portland Oregon, reach out to us!