A new life for broken wooden pallets

As part of our goal to increase recycling to 85% of all non-pharmaceutical waste by 2022 at Group-level, we are working with various initiatives in all our locations. Repairing and recycling of broken wooden pallets is one of the improvement actions at our central warehouse in Mölnlycke, Sweden.

Developing our waste handling and recycling is an important area in our journey towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Our priority in waste management is to minimise production of waste and make recycling more effective as a secondary measure.

To reduce combustible waste and increase recycling, we started to repair and recycle broken wooden pallets in our central warehouse in Mölnlycke in the beginning of 2020. Previously broken or otherwise unusable pallets have been disposed to be combusted to energy.

Now the pallets are sent to repair, which increases their lifespan. If a pallet can’t be repaired, it can be used as a repair material for other pallets. The pallets that are not usable at all, are transformed to pellets to be used for energy production,” says Fredrik Lillskog, Production Manager at Mölnlycke.

Normally, the average lifespan of a wooden pallet is between 5 to 10 years, but the variation is big depending on how they are handled. Storage inside and careful handling, for example, may prolong the lifespan significantly.

During the first half of 2020, recycling increased by over 10 percentage points at Mölnlycke, which is mostly due to improved wood recycling. Repairing and recycling of the pallets is handled by our partner. In total, approximately 20% of the pallets used daily are in need of repair, from which only 2-3% are estimated to be disposed.