Have Pinterest and Instagram caused you to type in “pallets near me” into your favorite search engine? If so, you’re not alone.
Building creations out of old pallets has been a popular trend for decades. You can make anything with a healthy amount of creativity, the right tools, and a stack of pallets.
Unfortunately, tracking down free wooden pallets isn’t always easy. We’ll share several options that might not appear when you search for “wood pallets near me.”
Let’s get started!
DIY’ers Are Loving Free Wood Pallets
Wood pallets are versatile and inexpensive building materials that you can use for various DIY projects. Many builders love using them because they’re readily available and often not serving any other purpose. Using them for a project can rescue them from spending the rest of their life sitting outside in the elements rotting.
However, you don’t want to trust just any old wood for your projects. You want to get good-quality pallets that’ll get the job done. As a result, there are a few things to consider when looking for them.
Look for ones in good condition, without cracks or broken pieces. This is especially true if you’re planning to disassemble them. If not, there’s a good chance they’ll fall apart and be useless once you get them home.
Additionally, when considering your resources, you must avoid those treated with chemicals. Using these for your projects can be harmful to your health, especially if they’re indoors. Look for ones stamped with “HT” on them. These letters indicate that the pallet has undergone a heat-treating process instead of using chemicals.
Don’t forget to get permission before taking them. Just because there’s a stack of pallets next to a business or other establishment doesn’t mean they’re free for the taking. You could face legal troubles if you haul them away without permission.
Pro Tip: Need wood to light up instead of build with? Use these tips on 5 Places to Find Firewood Near You.
7 Places to Look for Free Wood Pallets
Don’t give up if you’ve tried searching “wood pallets near me” and have had no luck. There are likely several places you can check. You may stumble upon a jackpot or make a connection for a continual supply. Let’s look at some places you can try for your next project.
#1 New Home Construction or Renovation
Many areas of the country are experiencing a boom in new home construction and renovation projects. If you live near one of these areas, stop by one of the sites and inquire about what they do with their old pallets. They may be more than happy to let you take them off their hands, and you may even be doing them a favor.
Many of these construction sites have to pay hefty fees for disposing of construction materials. They’ll often have large dumpsters for construction materials and other waste. Once it’s full, it can cost them hundreds of dollars every time they need it emptied.
Every pallet you take off their hands is one they don’t have to put into their dumpster. Depending on the construction project, you may have more pallets than you know what to do with. This could be a good problem if you’re profiting off your creations.
#2 Small Businesses Around Town
Unfortunately, you’ll likely strike out if you only search at Walmart, Lowes, and other big-box retailers. They typically have processes in place with recycling and disposal services for their pallets. Instead of relying on these locations, you’ll likely have better luck at small businesses around your town.
It might be worth checking pet, hardware, and furniture stores in your area. In addition, new store locations may have pallets that they’re willing to give to anyone wanting them. Depending on the store, you may ask if you can come back weekly or monthly to collect their pallets for them.
Pro Tip: Make sure you know these 7 Rules for Shopping at Lowe’s before you go searching for pallets.
#3 Fresh Produce Markets
Your local produce market likely receives shipments on a regular schedule. While many of these retailers will return their pallets for future deliveries, that’s not always the case. Many businesses don’t have a plan for disposing of them, and they pile up outside the store. If so, they may be happy to help you with your DIY projects.
Again, check with the store before loading them into your vehicle. If you don’t, you could be on the receiving end of an angry store manager or owner. Don’t assume they’re free, especially if you want to avoid legal troubles.
#4 Wood Pallet Distributors or Recycling Centers
Pallet distributors and recycling centers are other great spots to check for free wooden pallets. They’ll probably show up in a search for “pallets near me.” There may be some that don’t meet their standards, or they have an excessive amount they need to unload.
They may be willing to part with them for free. However, even if they’re not free, they may be willing to sell them at steeply discounted prices.
Some shipping companies require pallets to meet specific standards. They cannot use them for shipping if they don’t meet those standards. If that’s the case, you may be able to sweet talk them into giving them to you for free or next to nothing.
Schools often receive bulk shipments of textbooks and other essential resources. Lucky for you, many of these shipments come loaded on wooden pallets. Once the school unloads the materials and disperses them to teachers and students, all that remains is an empty pallet. Many schools will be more than willing to give away their unused pallets.
It’s a good idea to connect with the school’s leadership to determine when these shipments occur. While most of these will likely happen in the weeks and months leading up to the start of school, they can occur at any time. You may become their go-to phone call to come haul them away.
#6 Hardware, Furniture, & Equipment Stores
There’s no shortage of stores that rely on pallets for their shipments. Hardware, furniture, and equipment stores often receive shipments on wooden pallets. Stores that sell lawn equipment and other machinery often have a large amount lying around.
Don’t underestimate furniture stores, either. Many of them receive their products on pallets and have a healthy supply. Depending on your needs, they may let you take some or all of them off their hands.
#7 Pet Supply & Grocery Stores
All the bags of pet food you see lining the aisles at your favorite pet store likely came on a pallet. Depending on how quickly a store goes through pet food, they may have many pallets lying around their facility. If they have no plan for disposing of these units, they may appreciate you taking them for them.
Grocery stores often receive large shipments too. Heavy items like watermelons and potatoes may come on pallets. These stores may look for someone to clear out their collection every few weeks or as needed.
Finding Wood Pallets Takes Work
Finding free wooden pallets can be a great way to save money on building materials for your DIY projects. However, you’ll need to put in more effort than simply searching “free pallets near me.”
We’ve shared several fantastic options to check in your search for your next project. Do your best to form connections with store managers and business owners. You could end up forming mutually beneficial partnerships.
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