Upcycling wood pallets into usable household and landscaping items that are both utilitarian and stylish is an excellent example of these three trends coming together.
What is “upcycling”?
Upcycling is a term that started gaining popularity in the 90s, with the rise of the environmental movement. According to the folks at Upcycle Magazine, “upcycling is taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative.” In other words, instead of seeing products as waste and discarding them, upcycling would have us create something new.
Pallets, or skids, are flat structures that goods are placed on for shipping. They are manufactured so that forklifts, pallet jacks and front loaders can easily lift them and the goods that they carry. Items are typically secured onto pallets for shipping using strapping or wrap. (Wikipedia) Most pallets are only used half a dozen times before they are discarded and sent to clog up the landfill.
Using pallets to create new items can save you money and be easier on the environment than using virgin wood, just be prepared for a little extra work as you check the wood for cracks and splinters, remove nails and spend time using the sander. Here are some of my favorite project ideas for upcycling wood pallets:
• Adirondack-style chair and patio table
• Wood-pallet backyard deck – a friend of mine built his deck using only pallets and other scavenged materials and it looks fantastic!
• Garden potting table (a practical and stylish landscaping necessity)
• Raised garden bed
• Backyard playhouse, tree house or lemonade stand
• Bike trailer
• Shoe rack
• Book shelf
For more incredibly creative ideas, take a look at this video from the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association.