Are pallets safe for gardening? This is one of the first questions I hear from people who are starting a new garden and do not know much about using or storing garden supplies like pallets. Pallets are storage containers used to hold garden supplies, like soil, plants, seeds, rocks, firewood, and many other items. The term pallet comes from the French word meaning wheel.
While the term is popular, pallets do have some limitations as far as their use as garden supplies go. First, pallets are not very stable. They are built using pressboard or similar materials that can easily break. As a result, even if you take extremely heavy objects such as soil, plants, and firewood off the pallets, they can still topple over. However, if you are going to be moving things around a lot or stacking a lot of things on the pallets (as in storing firewood), then pallet wood will work fine.
The reason why pallet wood is unsafe is because it contains methyl bromide. This chemical is highly toxic and extremely poisonous. If exposed, it can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, trouble breathing, confusion, and respiratory failure. Because methyl bromide is present in large amounts, there is an obvious risk when using pallets of this material.
However, there are other issues with wooden pallets, which makes them unsafe for certain garden tasks. For example, pallets made from softwood are much more likely to warp when exposed to moisture. If there is any way to avoid exposing the wooden pallets to moisture, then you should do so. If not, you are simply wasting your time using wooden pallets.
Also, using softwood or pine as a material for wooden pallets can lead to splintering. This is especially problematic if you plan on using these pallets for a long time. Splinters from wooden pallets can easily lead to cuts and other injuries. So even though softwood or pine is generally safer than hardwood, it may not be enough to keep your pallet wood safe.
So, now that we have discussed the issue of whether or not they are safe for gardening, you need to ask yourself: are pallets safe for my gardening projects? If you follow these safety tips, no, they are not safe. However, you do have to be careful. After all, pallets are one of the most important tools of your gardening supply-planner.