Today my alma mater Southern Methodist University celebrates a new master’s degree program in sustainability and development. The degree covers sustainability-related topics from policy to design in both developed and developing worlds. SMU will kick off the endeavor mid-day Friday with London sustainability strategist Peter Bishop and the unveiling of a low-cost Pallet House prototype designed by I-Beam Design.
A couple days after writing about Arctic Plank floors made with reclaimed shipping pallets, Oregon-based Viridian Wood Products announced two new flooring products made from shipping pallets and crates. The two lines are FSC-certified, 100% reclaimed, and available with or without a low-VOC polyurethane finish.
Wooden shipping pallets are typically a low-end commodity. Sometimes a pallet will get reused a few times before it ends up being scrapped or used as firewood. But Icelander Högni Stefan Thorgeirsson, owner of Iceland-based Arctic Plank, found a better use for it and produces flooring made from upcycled used pallet wood.
Using pallets as office furniture is about as peculiar as using containers as a home structure, but in this case, aesthetically speaking, the design by Most Architecture seems to work well. Maybe it’s the mixture of clean walls with jenga-like stacks and bold lines. Whatever it is, BrandBase, a company based out of Amsterdam, commissioned the temporary space and wanted it to be built with recycled materials. The design incorporates 270 pallets all together.
You remember Paul Stankey of Hive Modular? We mentioned his container cabin this time last year, and since that time, the rustic retreat has been showcased in probably every quality design magazine in the country. What interesting, however, is that Paul’s been working on phase two: A new project adjacent to the cabin.
Paul was speaking with the folks at loll about their waste and came to find out that they have huge pallets sitting around. So he decided that the pallets could be put to clever use, I mean, they’re sturdy and heavy, weighing in at roughly 200 pounds each. He designed Pallet Barn.
About ten years ago, I worked at UPS in their "boneyard" — a place where all the pallets were unloaded and strewn in huge heaps on an asphalt parking lot. We’d neatly stack the pallets, place them in a trailer, and UPS would get rid of them, netting about $0.25 per pallet saved. At the time, I didn’t realize the amount of pallets in circulation around the globe. It’s estimated that there are about 2 BILLION ordinary unit load pallets in circulation globally, and about two-thirds of these are only used once. It’s further estimated that U.S. companies throw away roughly 4 billion board feet of wood pallets every year. Pretty crazy, I know.
So HDR Architecture came up with Unit Load_Redux, a temporary exhibition intended as a probe for sustainable living through the redux of pallets and the use of bicycle energy.