Pallets are incredibly useful when you need them, but it’s difficult to know what to do when you have extra, scrap, or broken pallets in your facility. Ideally, you could sell your unwanted pallets to a used pallet recycler, or you could get your pallets repaired to use for multiple shipment cycles. However, these solutions are not always convenient or practical.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can responsibly get rid of unwanted pallets. In fact, there is rarely a reason for you to just throw your old pallets away.
Pallets are made of recyclable materials, and it isn’t good for the environment to have them sit in a landfill. Plus, large-size waste removal can be very costly, when you take into account haul charges and landfill fees.
The next time you find yourself with unwanted or unused pallets in your warehouse, consider these options:

  • Talk to your vendor. If you find yourself accumulating more and more pallets whenever you order materials for your company, then see if your vendor offers a pallet retrieval and reuse program. This can save you tons of space in your facility, and it is an all-around “greener” and more efficient model of material transport. Typically, higher-valued pallets and shipping platforms are the ones who offer pallet retrieval. Sometimes, there are even deposits for returning higher-valued pallets. This presents a great opportunity for you — check in with your vendors and ask if they are willing to pay for the retrieval and return of their shipping pallets.
  • Switch to a single-source provider, such as First Alliance. Rather than working directly with multiple pallet suppliers, you may consider switching to a single-source provider. First Alliance is a pallet management and logistics company, and we do business with 225 different pallet suppliers. With our connections, we can help you figure out the perfect pallet removal system for your business. In fact, we can devise custom solutions that may combine some or all of the suggestions listed within this post.
  • Consider renting. If a pallet return program isn’t feasible for your company but you can’t store your excess pallets, then you may want to consider renting pallets. With renting, you never have to worry about pallet repairs or pallet disposal. At the same time, renting does have its pitfalls. Because the pallets aren’t yours to keep, you need to keep track of your inventory to avoid lost pallet fees and late fees.
  • Use a standard-size pallet. What are the dimensions of the pallets currently used by your company? If they aren’t 48”x40”, 40”x40”, or 48”x48”, then this may be the reason for your troubles. Pallets with custom dimensions are difficult to resell. If it’s possible with your company’s needs, try switching to a standard size pallet — it’ll be easier to find a nearby business who wants your pallets after they exit your facility.
  • Create a pallet flow system. Does your company receive shipments of raw materials, then sell a finished product in bulk quantities? If so, then you may want to create a pallet flow system within your organization. If you require pallets for receiving shipments AND you require pallets for order fulfillment, then doesn’t it make sense to use the same pallets for both purposes? With this model, pallets are constantly flowing into and out of your warehouse — and you’ll never need to worry about excess again.
  • Call that 1-800 number. Take a look at the pallets lying around your warehouse. Are they stamped with any identifying information, such as the manufacturer’s name or number? If so, try reaching out. Sometimes, pallet suppliers accept returns (at no expense to you!).
  • Create a “Buy Under Load” agreement with your distributor. If you want your company to have a fleet of durable, reusable pallets, but you only have the budget for cheap pallets or rentals, then speak with your distributor about making the investment together. Here’s an example of how this model — a “Buy Under Load” — arrangement works: a canning company buys high-quality pallets, then sells them to one of their distributors under load at a discounted rate. The costs paid by the distributor help to cover the canning company’s initial pallet use. In this way, the canning company can help build its inventory of durable pallets at a cheaper cost than fronting the entire purchase price.
  • Call us for a dock sweep. If you just can’t seem to figure out what to do with all your extra pallets, then consider looking into First Alliance’s rebate program. We have relationships with local pallet recyclers all around the country. Sometimes, recyclers offer additional services such as hauling away old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and baled shrink wrap. Can you imagine cleaning up your entire facility with just a single provider? It might be easier than you think. Just make sure that the material you want to clear is baled — most recyclers won’t accept loose material.
  • Switch your materials. If it’s difficult for you to justify a pallet rental program but you still can’t seem to find an interested party for your used pallets, then you may want to try working with a different pallet material for your shipments. Plastic, presswood, and cardboard pallets are increasing in popularity, due to their light weight, ease of recyclability, and nest-ability for freight purposes.

Let’s be honest: it’s difficult to run an efficient operation with pallet carcasses cluttering your facility. With our list of suggestions, it’s much easier than you think to get rid of your used pallets without letting them go to waste. And, it’s much easier than you think to devise a new shipping strategy, where fewer materials go to waste. Your warehouse and loading dock can be clean and clear in no time.
You have many options moving forward regarding your handling of used pallets. Just remember there are always trade offs to consider, so choose one that works best for your company. If you don’t know which route to choose for your business, give us a call today. We can help you devise a pallet removal solution that is both good for the environment and good for your wallet.