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The number of pallets entering the landfill has dropped by 86 percent over the last two decades — and when pallets do arrive at landfills, both municipal and solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition (C&D) facilities are recycling them even further, according to the study.
Companies, manufacturers and retailers are increasingly recycling pallets, particularly when they are within a reasonable distance from a pallet recycler or a company that grinds pallets into mulch. Some companies have developed their own crew to repair pallets, Virginia Tech researchers told Environmental Leader.
Additionally, “there’s a value to a used pallet, so companies are financially incentivized to have the pallet recycled,” a spokesperson from the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) told us. Environmental awareness, limited space and a desire to be more waste efficient are factors driving the increased recycling on wood pallets.
Additionally, zero-waste policies from companies like Volvo Trucks are driving the recycling of pallets; bound by their commitments to send nothing to landfills, these companies are driven to repurpose the pallets instead of landfilling them, the NWPCA points out.
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