Creating an extra stream of income is an essential step towards financial freedom and is always in many minds. A simple idea like becoming a recycling entrepreneur can go a long way in helping you bring in some extra cash and change your financial future. But what can you recycle? In this article, I’ll be showing you how to recycle wood pallets for money.
Pallets play a key role in businesses when it comes to transportation and storage of most products. Unfortunately, most businesses lack a better way to dispose of their used pallets. They leave them to rot somewhere on their premises, toss them into landfills, or burn them in the fire pit-possibly because they don’t know what to do with them and how to get rid of pallets.
But do you know that you can recycle wood pallets for money? Well, great business ideas originate from identifying and serving a need in the community. This can be as simple as helping businesses get rid of pallets accumulated from their warehouse, parking lot or walkways, and then selling them to wood pallet buyers near you. It is an excellent opportunity to make money fast while saving the environment at the same time!
Whether you are a savvy entrepreneur looking for a business idea or are just tired of your 9-to-5 job and want to find a way to turn in some extra cash as part of your exit plan, recycling wood pallets for money is a great way to get started.
Wood Pallet Industry Statistics in the US
Before you start to recycle wood pallets for money, you must get the overall picture of the United States wood pallet industry so that you can clearly understand the pros and cons. Here is a rundown of some important stats that will give you a complete picture of the pallet industry in the US:
- Currently, there are over 2 billion pallets in use
- The pallet market for both new and refurbished pallets is estimated to be worth $17 billion in North America
- In 2011, 476 million pallets were newly manufactured, while 474 million used pallets were recovered from landfills
- Of the 474 million pallets that were recovered, 326 million of them were reusable as pallets, while the remaining 148 million were repurposed wood pallet for other ideas
- Out of each 100 pallets sold, 43 of them are used for wood pallet recycling or recovery
- The pallet recycling industry has grown significantly. In 1992, only 51 million wood pallets were recovered. This number grew to 474 million pallets by 2011.
As you can see from these statistics, people still throw away millions of pallets into landfills. This presents both a problem and an opportunity. Instead of complaining or adding to the problem, you can turn it into an income-generating opportunity by finding a better way to deal with used pallets. And what can be more than to recycle wood pallets for money by selling them to wood pallet brokers in your area!
How Much Can You Sell a Pallet For?
It would help if you got a rough idea of how much you can make per pallet so that you can weigh your options and determine whether the pay is worth your effort. Recycled pallet prices range from $0.50 to $4 per pallet. But why the price difference?
Several factors come to play when determining how much you can sell a pallet for. Top among them is the size, condition, and the number of wood pallets you have. All of them will have a bearing on how much pallet buyers near you are willing to pay for your recycled wood pallets.
What are the wood pallet price factors?
- Condition: This is the top determinant of how much you get paid per pallet. (New) Pallets in good condition that require minimal repair for reuse look more attractive to pallet recycling companies. It will be worth more than their counterparts in lousy shape. But don’t get discouraged if you come across old pallets in bad shape because you can still make extra money from them despite their condition. Many pallet recycling services are more than willing to pay you a lower rate for pallets in bad condition. Recycling services will repurpose wood pallets into mulch.
- Size: Your pallet’s size is the second factor that will determine how much a pallet buyer will pay you. As you would expect, larger pallets in great condition will bring more money than smaller ones in similar conditions. In the US, the standard pallet size is 48″ x 40″ and weighs 37 pounds. The next most common pallet dimensions are 42″ x 42″ and 48″ x 48″.
- The Number You Have: This may not influence your price per pallet, but the total number of pallets you have will come to play when determining the total payout you should expect. That means the more pallets you have, the more money you can expect to earn. If you can find many pallets in good condition, you can be sure to get a higher rate and increase your total earnings. That said, you can also expect to make more money from a whole truck of pallets in not-so-good-condition than just a few in great shape. So, it is a safe bet to say that the more pallets you have to sell, the more money they will bring in.
Additional factors include the area you live in, the number of pallet recycling companies nearby, and how much each pallet buyer is willing to pay; it will determine the price paid per pallet.
If there are multiple local recycling companies where you live, it means that the demand for used pallets will be high, and you are likely to get competitive rates. This will also help you save money on gas because you don’t have to travel long distances to deliver your haul of recyclables.
It is wise to shop around and find a few clients who are willing to pay a higher rate per pallet so that you can make a decent amount from your hustle. This may take some time, but when you get into the swing of things and establish a good relationship with a few wood pallet recycling companies, you will be able to predict how much you can make per haul.
Shipping companies are likely to pay you more for new pallets or in excellent condition because you’re helping them cut costs almost in half by purchasing used recycled pallets vs. buying new ones.
For instance, let’s say you find two great clients willing to pay you $2 for each pallet in good shape. If each one asks you to deliver 150 pallets per week, it means that you can get paid $600 per week.
As long as you can keep your promise, provide a good service, and satisfy their weekly pallet demand, you can be sure to have a constant stream of income, up to $2,400 per month. And the good news is that reselling pallets runs on a cash basis. You will get your money immediately when you deliver them at your client’s specified location. Some consider it one of the best under the table jobs that pay cash.
You can expect to have more freedom and more cash flow than most 9-to-5 jobs where you have to work under others’ authority and still wait to get paid! Recycling wood pallets for money is a great side hustle.
Where Can I Find Wood Pallets for Free?
There is no shortage of places where you can find low-cost or free wood pallets. You can find different places where pallets are disposed of. Ideal places to find pallets for recycling are businesses where large quantities of goods are delivered or businesses that manufacture and sell large quantities of products.
Here is a list of common places where you can find free or low-cost pallets:
- Manufacturing or processing plants
- Retail outlets
- Hotels and restaurants
- Small businesses
- Cruise ship docks
- Trucking terminals
- Airfreight terminals
- Tire shops
- Construction sites
- Craiglist.org -Many people place ads here to have their pallets collected for free.
- Freecycle.org -They have a section on their website for selling and buying pallets.
There are even companies that tend to give away their shipping pallets. Call your local Walmart, Tractor Supply, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s are among the top places that get rid of pallets.
Most of these businesses lack enough space in their warehouse to store unused pallets, and it is not rare to see idle and unused pallets lying around on their premises. Therefore, they will be more than happy to have someone get rid of them for free. Just talk to the owner or the manager to pitch your idea of removing them for free.
You can even make further arrangements with the business owner for wood pallet removal weekly or monthly. Some businesses, especially those with bulk quantities occupying space in their warehouse, may even be glad to pay you to recycle the wood pallets.
Can I Take Wood Pallets from Behind Stores for Free?
The best answer is: Ask first.
Whenever you see pallets lying idle behind stores or business premises, your safe bet is to assume that they are not free and talk to the owner. While some businesses will let you take them for free, others sell their pallets or may have someone who gets rid of them on their behalf.
But the fact is, most businesses want someone to remove their pallets. You can try negotiating a fair deal from pallet owners who dispose of them at a price if you schedule regular pickups. Negotiation is a terrific survival tip when trying to make money.
Where Can I Sell My Wood Pallets Near me?
So far, you know that it is possible to recycle wood pallets for money. But you may be asking, “Where can I sell my wood pallets near me?” The good news is that there are several places where you can sell your recycled pallets and earn decent money based on where you live.
Here are the top places where you can readily sell your wood pallets.
Craigslist is one of the top places to resell recycled products. If you navigate to the Buy & Sell section, you will find ads from people willing to sell or buy pallets. If you can’t find a buyer right away, you can also place your own ad to find buyers for your recycled wood pallets. The good news is that it’s free to place an ad on Craigslist in most cities. It’s also a good place to buy cheap wood pallets potentially. Don’t forget to read our article on the best other sites like Craigslist for free stuff.
2. Local Manufacturers
Before you find a market for your recycled wood pallets elsewhere, check with your local manufacturing companies to see whether they need some. The best approach is to visit their offices or call on the phone. Negotiate with the manufacturers to see how much they may be willing to pay for recycled pallets.
3. Kamps Pallet
Kamps is among the top pallet brokers and recyclers with over 45 years of experience in the game. They have locations in most metropolitan areas, but you can also sell pallets by contacting Kamps Pallet through their website to pick up and haul them away. Haul away service will depend on your location and volume. Kamps will pay a fair price for any of your recycled wood pallets that can be repaired and resold.
4. National Wooden Pallet Container and Association
The National Wooden Pallet Container and Association is a pallet broker that maintains a directory of companies that buy and sell wooden pallets on its website. Through their website, you can search for pallet buyers near you interested in purchasing wooden pallets.
5. North American Pallet Recycling Network
North American Pallet Recycling Network is another pallet broker with a recycling network throughout the US, including Alaska and Hawaii. It is a marketplace that matches generators to recyclers to promote the recycling of pallets. It is a great place to run to anytime you have some recycled pallets for sale.
6. Atlantic Pallet Exchange
APE has locations in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. They accept and buy the most common pallet sizes. Atlantic Pallet Exchange may also buy uncommon or custom pallets from you or just recycle them as a service. It is a great place to make money selling recycled wooden pallets if you live in one of the seven states.
Whether you want to find buyers or find places to pick up pallets for free, recycle.net is an excellent place for you. They have a specific section on their website for wood pallet buyers and sellers.
8. Local pallet delivery companies
Although you may not make a lot of money, selling to the local pallet companies near you may be a great idea, especially if you have excess stock. You can quickly locate local pallet delivery companies in your area from the white pages or the local telephone book. Also, a simple search of “local pallet delivery companies” + “your zip code” on Google will show results near you. Wood pallet recyclers prefer selling to these companies because it is convenient in saving time and gas.
9. Woodworking or furniture school
Woodworking or furniture schools will require wood pallets for teaching and learning purposes. This makes them viable places for selling your recycled pallets. You can check local technical college listings to find woodworking or furniture-making schools in your area.
How much do wood pallets cost?
Used pallet prices vary based on size, condition, local market, and the quantity in your possession. You can expect to make anywhere between $0.5 to $4 per pallet, depending on its size and condition. Clean pallets in good shape sell at a higher rate than pallets in poor condition.
According to Pallet Profile Weekly, new pallet prices may range anywhere from $11.25 to $25. For example, the price range for a new 48-by-40-inches GMA pallet is $11.25 to $12.50, but heavier-duty block-style pallets cost $25 or more.
How to recover broken pallets?
The pallet recovery industry has been a long way coming. In 2011, 474 million pallets were recovered. Compare that to only 51 million pallets recovered in 1992, and you can see the change. Companies have been throwing away a considerable number of pallets in landfills.
What is the best way to recover broken pallets?
- Repair and reuse yourself
- Sell them to pallet brokers who specialize in fixing and repurposing broken pallets
As the recycling industry continues to become more effective, there is no shortage of ways to recover broken pallets. Here are some ways through which the 474 million pallets recovered in 2011 have been repurposed.
- 11.9% were reused without any repairs, while 68.5% were repaired and reused. That means companies lost big money by throwing them away! Companies could have saved millions.
- 16.2% were dismantled and used in the making of new pallets or as repair lumber.
- 3.1% were chipped and ground for various uses. Out of these, 55% are used to make colored and uncolored mulch, 10% to make animal bedding, 30% are used for manufacturing waste to energy products, and 6% are repurposed for other uses.
- 0.3% were used for other purposes.
That means there is an opportunity in broken pallets and companies learning how to stop throwing away money. By refusing to take the easy way out, a savvy entrepreneur can recycle wood pallets for money. They can merely take the time to learn how to recover broken pallets or sell pallet recycling companies near you.
Learn how to repair a broken pallet DIY
Sometimes, you may come across some broken pallets that you may need to repair before you can resell them. With the right tools, you can do it yourself to increase their resale value. This DIY video will take you through a step by step process on how to repair broken pallets.
Can I throw a pallet into a dumpster?
There are compelling reasons why you should not throw pallets in a dumpster, including:
- Environmentally unfriendly: It is environmentally unsafe to dispose of waste pallets as this can result in landfills
- Safety: They can result in potential injury from handling damaged pallets, especially to staff or children.
- Unproductive: You will have to break and cram them into a bin or roll-off dumpster. Since you will have to abandon your regular duties to do all that, it will result in a loss of productivity.
- Loss of Money: It’s expensive. It may cost up to $200 to pick up and remove 10-20 pallets in a large dumpster rental, which is way more compared to $3 per pallet when you use a pallet collection service like Jetpallets.
How can I get rid of wood pallets for free?
For some reason, you may be unable to sell some or even all of your pallets, especially if they are broken. So, where do you take a truckload of pallets that you are unable to sell? You may decide that the best way is to get rid of your wooden pallets for free in such a situation. The best way to do it is through a haul-away service.
Here are some of the pallet manufacturers that provide pickup services for pallets in unusable condition.
You can also contact trash and recycling companies to arrange for a pickup. Waste Management is a good example of a company that offers pallet removal at some location. They have locations in 48 states, and you can always request a bulk pickup online.
There you have it! As you can see, it is possible to recycle wood pallets for money without making a huge upfront investment. It’s a great way to start a recycling business with less risk.
It’s an ideal side job with a pickup truck or a utility trailer. Why not go ahead and try this side hustle and see how it turns out for you? Apart from the benefit of earning some extra cash on the side, you can save and invest or use to pay some debts. You will also enjoy the freedom of being your own boss while keeping the environment clean with zero-waste.