Central Wisconsin business expands wood waste recycling
By Michelle Rayburn
PITTSVILLE – A new electric wood waste grinder at a Pittsville pallet company will improve efficiency while keeping zero waste a priority.
Wood pallets have been a vital part of the logistics industry in getting crucial supplies to hospitals, stores, and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what happens to a pallet when it wears out or breaks after repeated use?
Hay Creek Companies, in Pittsville, manufactures new wood pallets and repairs and reconditions some older pallets. But when a wood pallet has outlived its service for shipping, it’s still useful.
Gone are the days when old pallets were incinerated or tossed in landfills. Over the years, businesses such as Hay Creek Companies have learned how to use every scrap of wood, turning it into shavings that can be used for wood pellets for bioenergy and also bedding for cattle. To make wood fuel, the scrap wood shavings are compressed under high pressure in a pellet mill.
The company has installed a new EC-366 electric grinder at the Hay Creek main plant. This allows the company to expand its ability to recycle wood. A newly constructed area of the factory houses the machine.
“Having this at our main location instead of at a previous work site several miles from here will save on handling and transportation and help us to be efficient with the recycling process,” said Tom Gardner, president of Hay Creek Companies.
Broken wood pallets are loaded into the hopper on the EC-366, and the machine grinds them into wood shavings. Through a series of magnets, nails and metal are sorted out from the shavings and recycled separately.
“Broken pallet recycling for use as a fuel source is good for the environment, since wood is a sustainable resource,” Gardner explained.
In addition to their work with pallets, Hay Creek Companies also manufactures premium wood pellets, landscape mulch, and animal bedding by recycling wood waste material.