Research Update: New grant to survey landfills regarding the numbers of pallets received, recycled, and landfilled
Each year, 804 million wooden pallets are manufactured and recycled across the United States. Although the vast majority of the pallets are repaired or recycled into secondary products such as mulch or boiler fuel, a portion of all pallets end up in landfills at the end of their useful life cycle. The purpose of this research is to investigate the total number of pallets and crates reaching landfills in the United States as well as to gain a better understanding of the overall waste stream.
Our director, Dr. Laszlo Horvath, has received a new grant from The Pallet Foundation to investigate the total amount of woody material and the number of wood pallets and crates that are received, recycled, and landfilled at MSW and C&D landfills as well as the tipping fee structure of landfills and the types of recovery operations that they have on site. A comprehensive survey will be used to gain important insights into pallets’ various end of life scenarios throughout 2021. The Pallet Foundation has historically funded survey projects like this about landfilled pallets every 5-10 years with the last survey being conducted for 2016.
Yash Mansharamani (Image 1), a graduate of NC State’s undergrad program, was selected to work on this graduate level research project for his Master’s degree. Mansharamani has worked to develop an updated survey based on the previous projects. The study will use electronic and paper surveying of all licensed Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and Construction and Demolition (C&D) landfills in the continental United States. Data collection started in 2022 with the survey being deployed to collect detailed trends for the calendar year 2021. Mansharamani will analyze long-term trends by comparing his 2021 results to the results of previous market studies - especially the research conducted in 1995, 1998, and 2016 by previous Pallet Foundation / NWPCA grants.