SOLO calls it trash – but others see it as treasure.
SOLO’s raw materials come on pallets. When the materials are unloaded and stored, the pallets stack up. In the past, they occupied a large amount of dumpster space and it was expensive to have the waste removed. Now, two times per year, Mark Rioux’s Pallets, LLC comes to SOLO Labs. They pick up about 60-65 wooden pallets on each trip. While the pallet’s purpose is finished at SOLO, it continues to have a very useful life after it leaves our plant.
According to Mark Rioux, company owner, many of the pallets are reused. “We sort all of the pallets in our shop to look for those that can be repaired.” If the pallets are in good condition, Mark and his team will make repairs and resell them.But those that are past their useful life undergo a unique metamorphosis. These pallets are inserted into a tear-down machine where pieces of wood are salvaged and used to repair other pallets. Wood that is no longer usable becomes firewood.
“We allow people to take the wood and use it to burn in wood-burning stoves. The end pieces make great kindling for coal fires,” added Mark. In the summertime, the wood is in demand for campsites, campfires and fire pits.
But Mark has found a new market for these castoffs–Pinterest. Crafters have found they can be used to make outdoor furniture from chairs and bars, to love seats and swings. “I often find people scavenging through the waste to find the perfect piece for their project,” chuckled Mark.
While Mark doesn’t charge for the pallet pieces, he does have heartwarming stories of people who were thankful for his generosity. One person decorated a pallet lid with a beautiful scene of a watermill etched with a wood burning tool. The woman was thankful for the wood that she used to heat her home and the artwork was a welcomed respite from caring for her daughter who had cancer. Mark said the artwork remains in the dining room of this former Marine, who was touched at her kind gesture.
As a small family business in Bernville, Pa., Mark considers it a perk to work with his son, Joshua. “He’s been working by my side since he was 6 years old. Today, he’s my business partner,” he added.
At SOLO Labs, Serve Others, Love Others means being responsible stewards of our resources. To read more about our efforts to be environmentally responsible, check out these posts on solar power, plastic recycling, or toner cartridges.
We encourage you to share with us your ideas on how we can help you reduce waste and help our environment.
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