From tree to pallet and back again

In the spirit of the season, a St. Jacobs-based business is giving back to both the community and the environment.

Willow Brae Pallets is building and selling small Christmas trees made out of reclaimed pallet wood. They’re donating part of the proceeds from the sale of each tree to Trees for Woolwich to help them plant more trees in the township.

The Christmas trees range from 30 to 40 inches high.

Willow Brae Pallets vice-president Cheryl Weber says as a recycling company they’re always dealing with wood. She wanted the company to get involved with tree planting and had been looking into Trees Canada and Trees Ontario when she discovered Trees for Woolwich.

“When we met to talk about some options they told me about how they have a lot of trees, they’re really looking to get them planted and it just kind of popped into my head that it would be fun to create some trees out of recycled and reclaimed pallet wood and try to create a fundraiser out of it, especially at Christmastime,” Weber explained.

She says there are plenty of examples of pallet trees online where people are using reclaimed pallet wood to make the trees themselves. Willow Brae does all the work by choosing reclaimed boards that wouldn’t be reused to make pallets, cutting the boards, attaching them to a trunk and putting a stand on the bottom.lh_willowbraepallets_post

“First of all we have to find the right boards because we like boards with some character, so it’s the finding of the boards that’s more work than actually putting it together. It takes some work to find that nice board to make the nice tree,” Weber said.

She notes her colleague who’s the main person building them is quite particular about it and puts a lot of thought into the boards he chooses and the shape of the tree. He’s made about 30 pallet trees thus far.

“It’s certainly something we like to do just to keep that wood away from landfills and away from the shredders as long as we can,” Weber said.

They’ve found the community is receptive to the idea of reclaimed pallet wood projects but she’s not sure what to expect in terms of how many trees they’ll sell. People use them for decoration both inside and outside, often on their front porch with some greenery around them or in a planter.

“Because our business uses wood, it’s pretty important to us that we do something to ensure the sustainability. And to me, when [Trees for Woolwich chair] Inga [Rinne] told me that they have a greenhouse and they have trees there that are waiting to be planted, my first thought was what a great tie in to have Willow Brae, a pallet manufacturer, helping to get these trees into the ground in our community. It seems like a really natural thing to do.”

The trees are available at their 3 Bast Pl. location just outside of St. Jacobs, by ordering online and also at their booth at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.

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