Before you pick up the power tools, make sure that the wood pallet you’re using right for the project you have in mind. Our sister site, Sustainablog, recently shared some tips for how to tell if wood pallets are safe for your next crafty adventure, and I found some additional helpful info over at 1001 Pallets.
There are two steps to choosing a safe wood pallet for crafting: sourcing wisely and looking for key markings on the pallet.
Sourcing a Wood Pallet
If wood pallets were used to ship perishables or toxic chemicals, there is a chance that they can be contaminated. Try these sources for safer pallets:
- hardware stores
- lumber stores
- newspaper delivery and distribution centers
- landscaping companies
If you’re getting these from a business, you can even ask what they were used to ship. You may not be able to find out, but it’s worth a shot!
How to Tell if Wood Pallets are Safe
Many wood pallets are treated with toxic chemicals to prevent wear and tear. There are some markings you can look out for, though. Some pallets will have more than one marking. An unsafe mark usually overrides a safe one – I explain the one situation where this isn’t the case below.
Safe pallets will be marked DB, HT, KD and EPAL. These are not treated with toxic chemicals. DB pallets are completely untreated, while HT, KD, and EPAL markings mean that the wood was heat or kiln treated, rather than treated with chemicals.
These are the marks of an unsafe pallet:
+ MB – The wood is treated with toxic methyl bromide.
+ EUR – If your pallet has this marking but not the EPAL marking along with it, it may be unsafe. This is an older European treatment code, so you don’t know what this pallet was treated with. This is the one case where the safe marking (EPAL) overrides the unsafe one (EUR).
+ Bright Colors – Colored pallets are pretty, but there’s a very good chance they were used to ship toxic chemicals. Avoid!
There are other codes on wood pallets that don’t tell you anything about what they’re made of. Other markings on pallets include the country code and other more unique identifiers. Not super helpful for crafters, but interesting. If you have a pallet marked SI, for example, it came from Slovenia!
Pallet Craft Ideas
Once you’re sure you’ve chosen a pallet that’s safe, here are some resources and DIY pallet ideas for you to check out:
Top pallet image via Shutterstock