Introduction: Wabi-Sabi and the Art of Recycling - How to Get Creative With the Things Others Throw Away. Creativite Avec Les Dechets

About: I am an escapee from modern life, now living by the sea in a forest garden in France. After over 20 years industrial experience, I quit my managerial position to study for a degree in Engineering. That done I …

Trying to live simply and well, with minimum impact on the Environment by recycling and reusing the vast wealth of "rubbish" discarded daily across our Planet. One of my favourites, the ubiquitous wooden pallet is a valuable resource, frequently overlooked. Dismantled correctly it yields wooden planks that can be used for a multitude of projects. We also glazed our whole house and made Greenhouses and cold frames with recycled doors and windows, which were destined for the bonfire. The following film shares the projects we have undertaken, some of which have their own films on this site. Soundtrack Public Domain Music from The Dongas Tribe: http://www.archive.org/details/rainy_night_in_the_bell_tent
Créativité avec les déchets  - portes, fenêtres et bois à palettes - par example, en utilisant des matériaux de récupération, nous avons construit cette grande serre pour 50 Euros.


I have a few rules, which I adhere to in my selection and collection of pallets:-

Firstly, and most importantly, I only ever take pallets which are of untreated wood -- any signs of discolouration due to paint or chemical treatment render them unsuitable. The HT symbol = Heat treatment.

Secondly, I always ask if I may have the pallets -- this obviously is when the pallet is on the premises of an enterprise or site.

Thirdly, if you do take pallets from a site -- leave the area better than you found it, apart from being courteous, you may want to come back for more and to leave the impression that recyclers should be welcomed. More often than not, after your first couple of visits, the proprietor or foreman will suggest taking the pallets without needing to ask. In my experience, from then on they will often start saving and putting out pallets specifically for you.

Fourthly, safety  - wear thick gloves, as pallet wood is sawn and splinters are a pain. Many pallets are discarded because they are broken (by mishandling with forktruck forks or rough handling) this may expose nail points and sharp pieces of broken timber to unprotected pinkies. Also watch out for mis-nailed pieces, where the staples or nails have not been driven straight into the wood and the points stick out from the pallet sides.

Fifthly, transport -- it goes without saying that to bring your booty home ensure that your pallets are properly loaded into or onto your car or trailer and that the properly secured load can not affect you or other road users.

Remember, you are often doing these businesses a favour in taking away rubbish from their forecourt or carparks. Many realise this is so and welcome your visit. With the recuperated windows and doors used in our house and in the construction of the large Greenhouse, the source was a joinery firm -- now specialising in replacement double glazing. The Enlightened Proprietor welcomed us with opened arms, as people willing to give a second life to perfectly sound single and double glazed units, which would otherwise have been burned!

Good Hunting!