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The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Wooden Pallets

When it comes to wooden pallets there’s some interesting questions that can pop up around little things you may not know. Or it could be the first time that you are looking into pallets and you just need to know some additional information. In this short guide we aim to answer all of your questions and give you peace of mind when it comes to everything pallets related.

Why Are Some Pallets Specifically Coloured Blue, Red or Brown?

Whenever you see a red or coloured pallet specifically it means it belongs to a company and is on a rental system. Those types of pallets are not specifically for sale. If you are caught using these without permission there could be implications of unauthorised use.

What Are Wooden Pallets Treated With And Why?

Wooden pallets are treated in order to stop insects living in the wood preventing them from rotting and more importantly so that foreign insects do not decimate a country’s local vegetation or ecosystem. A lot of the time you will see letters stamped on to the wood. Below we will go through each of the stamps and what these treatments are. These treatments ensure that wooden pallets are kept in the best condition possible:

HT – Heat Treated
This pallet has been heat treated to eliminate any type of parasite or insect.

KD – Kiln Dried
Pallets have been dried in a Kiln to get rid of any pests. Several lumber yards now kiln dry their pallets to such a high temperature that they can be marked as KD or HT.

SF – Sulfuryl Fluoride
This fumigation method is an alternative to Methyl Bromide. Although somewhat safer than Methyl Bromide for usual industrial pallets, applicators should proceed with caution as it’s not safe for any type of personal projects or fires.

MB – Methyl Bromide
Pallets marked with this have been treated with a highly toxic pesticide due to some pests being able to withstand heat treatment. Due to the highly toxic treatment method those types of pallets should never be used for personal projects or fires.

All pallets coming into the United Kingdom and leaving the United Kingdom must be treated.

Do Wooden Pallets Rot?

In short, yes! However, as you will have seen from the different treatment methods we can slow and reduce the ageing process of wooden pallets by doing the following:

– Treating the wood
– Sanding the wood down
– Recoating the sanded wood
– Repeat sand and recoat the process when needed to keep it from rotting

Can You Let Wooden Pallets Get Wet?

Wooden pallets are often left outside due to the nature of business and that does mean that rain will have an effect on them. It can make the wood warp and increase the chance of mould.

If you can, the best thing is to try to keep any pallets indoors in order to keep them in the best condition possible.

Do Wooden Pallets Contain Chemicals?

Yes, as you will have seen with pallet treatment codes some pallets do contain chemicals. To reiterate this if you see any wooden pallets with the following systems:

SF – Sulfuryl Fluoride
MB – Methyl Bromide

Then please be aware that these pallets have been chemically treated and should be handled by professionals. Furthermore, they should not be used for any personal projects (DIY projects) or for fires.

Can You Recycle Wooden Pallets?

Yes, wooden pallets can be recycled. There’s a number of pallet recycling companies that will collect and take pallets away. The pallets are normally reconditioned for reuse or take the raw materials and make them into new pallets. We at Alpha Pallets offer a recycling service, so please get in touch to find out more.

We hope this guide has helped you find the answers to all your pallet related questions. Alpha pallets can guide you further and provide a quote for pallets. Contact us on 01604 230579 or fill out a quick form to speak with one of our team members.


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