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Study Shows 95% of Wooden Pallets are Recycled

Thursday, March 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Annette Ferri
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Study Shows 95% of Wooden Pallets are Recycled

Indicating Significant Gains in Landfill Avoidance

ALEXANDRIA VA, March 29, 2018 – Preliminary results of a research project conducted by Virginia Tech on the disposal of wood pallets at landfill sites reveal that 95% of wooden pallets are being recycled.

The landfill avoidance study was independently conducted at Virginia Tech over the course of two years. Both municipal and solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition (C&D) landfill facilities were surveyed to better understand how pallets were being handled at these facilities.

According to the study, the number of pallets entering the landfill reduced by 86%, for both MSW and C&D facilities. Environmental awareness, limited space and a desire to be more waste efficient have driven many of these facilities to sort and recover certain types of waste. The overall presence of wood pallets at landfill facilities has also significantly decreased.

“Our industry is thrilled that the data proves the wood packaging sector, more than any other, is closing in on zero-waste,” said Larry Howell of Cottondale Wood Products and NWPCA Chair. “Wood pallets are 100% recyclable, and the newest research from Virginia Tech shows that our industry has the highest recovery rate at 95%, compared to other prevalent materials.”

“Data of this kind had not been collected since 1998,” said Dr. Brad Gething, NWPCA Director of Science and Technology Integration. “The wood packaging sector has long been touting their recyclable efforts for decades, and now the data proves it.” Wooden pallets get used, reused, and when they are no longer useful, they are converted to mulch, animal bedding or biofuel.

“Of those wooden pallets that arrive at landfills, both MSW and C&D facilities recycle even further,” added Dr. Laszlo Horvath, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. “The results show that landfill facilities have increased their wood and wood pallet recovery areas over the past two decades. For MSW facilities, this number increased from 33% to 62% of facilities, while for C&D facilities, the number increased from 27% to 45%.”

“It’s great news for our environment, as well as the public. Landfill facilities provide recycled by-products, such as mulch, to their local communities,” said Brent McClendon, CAE, NWPCA President & CEO. The preliminary results of the landfill avoidance study, along with a recent industry market survey, are being submitted for peer-reviewed journals. Learn more about the research study.

The research project was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service and The Pallet Foundation.


Annette Ferri
Vice President of Communications
Phone: 703.519.6104 ext. 207


The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the largest organization of wood packaging professionals in the world, with more than 670 company members in 28 countries who manufacture, repair and distribute pallets and wood packaging in unit-load solutions, or who supply products and services to the industry.


Formed in 1996, The Pallet Foundation, a 501(c) charitable foundation, supports research, education/training and safety in the wood packaging industry while promoting the industry to end-user markets. Learn more about The Pallet Foundation.