Wood Pallets 101: How To Choose A Safe Pallet

wooden pallet

If you are an avid upcycler, chances are you have created something from a wood palletUpcycling with wood pallets might be a current trend, but in the rush to finish a project, many people are ignoring some of the potential dangers.

Did you know, for instance, that when the National Consumers League studied 70 pallets that transported foods, they found that 10 percent had E.Coli, and four percent had Listeria? When selecting a pallet for a project, many people might quickly look for noticeable damage and stains, but there is more that must be done in order to ensure safety.

The following two tips will help you find the best wood pallets for your project, and it will also keep you safe.

The first tip to finding a safe pallet is understanding the symbols listed on the bottom of each pallet.

Fix.com, a lifestyle blog dedicated to offering expert advice about home and repair, created a list of important characters on wood pallets and their meanings.

  • IPPC Logo: Any pallet with this logo has been properly treated. If this logo is missing, it should not be used.
  • Treatment Code: A two to four letter code that describes the treatment and use of a pallet. Some of the codes that mean a pallet is safe include:
  • DB: This stands for debarked, which means the bark on the pallet has been removed and the pallet has not been chemically treated. A pallet with this marking can be safely used.
  • HT: This stands for heat-treated. These pallets are placed in a heated kiln to kill bugs and disease. These pallets are not treated with chemicals and can be safely used.

Challenger Pallet, a company creating wood pallets Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and the entire upper Northwest region uses and depends on, ensures all of their pallets are heat-treated in order to certify them for international export. According to the company’s website:

At each of our facilities, we have large chambers with industrial propane or natural gas burners and fans. These buildings hold about 400 pallets. We are required to heat-treat each pallet in these ovens. The thickest part of the pallet, which is generally the 2×4, is heated until the temperature at the center reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. We then hold the temperature at or above that mark for 35 minutes. This ensures that the pallets are bug-free at this point.

In addition to the two safe codes listed above, any pallets marked with an IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) logo are safe to use. This logo means the IPPC, a group of 180-U.N. affiliated members dedicated to protecting the ecosystem, has deemed the pallet safe, according to Challenger Pallet’s website.

Some of the codes that mean a pallet is unsafe include:

  • MB: This stands for Methyl Bromide, which is a fungicide that is poisonous. Using a pallet marked in this manner will make you sick.
  • Colored Pallets: All colored pallets should be avoided. Color usually indicates that it was used to move chemicals.

The second tip to finding a safe pallet is knowing a clean, safe place to get one.

Some of the best places to get wood pallets include hardware and lumber stores, newspaper delivery and distribution centers and landscaping companies, according to Fix.com.

The pallets in these facilities are not used to carry toxic materials, and they are easily accessible.

Before you start your next upcycling project with wood pallets, be sure to check the markings on the bottom of each pallet and to go to a safe place. By doing this, you will not only love your work, but you will keep your family safe, and that’s what is really important.

This post was generously sponsored by Challenger Pallet and Supply Inc.

Photo credit: Manwaring Web Solutions

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