Many of us have heard the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; but how many of us have heard the three U’s of upcycling: uptake, upkeep and update?
Upcycling, a trend among hipsters and newlyweds, consists of taking something that appears to have no use and making something useful out of it.
Prime examples of this can be found on Pinterest. By searching “upcycling” on Pinterest, you might see various examples similar to this:
According to the “Ultimate Guide to Upcycling with Pallets,” an infographic created by Inhabitat.com, pallets might be the best tool for upcycling.
“Pallets are one of the most fantastic resources an upcylcer can get their hands on,” according to the infographic. “The potential is endless, and this infographic aims to both educate and inspire more people into getting creative with pallets — there is a world of possibility out there.”
Some of the reasons pallets are such a great tool include: they are easy to find, they are often free, they are versatile and easy to work with.
The infographic goes on to share several different project ideas and potential costs involved.
Upcycling, especially with pallets, is on the rise, but it does come with some potential concerns.
According to Homedit, and interior design and architecture website, wood pallets are prone to bacteria.
“Pallets can allow the growth of E Coli and salmonella bacteria so keep this in mind before you start a project that involves these elements,” according to Homedit. “Besides bacteria, wooden pallets can also develop fungus if they are kept dump for longer periods. So, make sure they are dry at all times. In addition, pallets can also be quite difficult to clean.”
If you are serious about starting an upcycling project with wood pallets, it is important to understand how to find a safe pallet.
According to “Wood Pallets 101: How To Choose A Safe Pallet,” an article on SustainABlog, there are various symbols on wood pallets that symbolize that they have been properly treated and are safe to use.
One such symbol is HT, which means the wood has been heat treated. Challenger Pallet, an Idaho Falls wood pallet production company, states on their website that each pallet they create uses heat treated wood.
“At each of our facilities, we have large chambers with industrial propane or natural gas burners and fans,” according to the Challenger Pallet website. “These buildings hold about 400 pallets. We are required to heat-treat each pallet in these ovens. The thickest part of the pallet, which is generally the 2×4, is heated until the temperature at the center reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. We then hold the temperature at or above that mark for 35 minutes. This ensures that the pallets are bug-free at this point.”
Even if you are not a hipster, newlywed or DIYer, as you begin to uptake, upkeep and update, we know you will fall in love with upcycling. As you start your next upcycling project with wood pallets, remember to check the markings to ensure they are safe to use.