WOODEN pallets discarded outside warehouses are a common sight and no one would think of its benefit.
But in the eyes of Marini Mohammad, these humble pallets can be turned into fabulous furniture pieces, which she did and transformed her home.
She collected close to a 100 pallets and converted the timber with its natural grain patterns into household furniture.
The Seremban home of Marini, who is an environmental health officer with Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Department, is furnished with reclaimed timber.
“Wooden pallets are available and often can be sourced for free. It’s simple to work with and has beautiful wood grain. Disassembled wood pallets can bemade into any size furniture. With an old aluminium sink still in good condition, I have built a cabinet around it using the wood. Friends who come over love the simple design,” she said.
She added that with a little creative effort, she had made furniture to fit all nooks and corners in her house, including under the stairs.
Marini, 32, said she has made coffee tables, television cabinets, tables, book shelves, double-seater sofa sets, and even bar stools with the pallets.
“Once a furniture piece is completed, I feel happy and it’s a sense of achievement. It is more than just sorting out newspapers or plastic for recycling. I call this process up-cycling as I get to bring the discarded waste materials into the home and give it a new lease of life,” she said with passion.
Marini added that it would have cost a few thousand ringgit using new timber and materials from a hardware shop but all furniture at her home costs her less than RM300, mainly for transporting the wood pallet.
“Most of the neighbours and relatives love the natural texture that exudes a modern rustic look. At times, I give it a twist by adding a touch of colour. For me it’s a drive towards sustainable living, sparing the landfills and saving cash in these tough economic times,” she said.
Other than furniture, Marini also turns old buntings into rain coats.
Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Department director Lee Lih Shyan, who is Marini’s boss, said he was proud of her green efforts in reusing waste.
“Our department is thinking of getting Marini to share her natural carpentry skills to educate people in Petaling Jaya to make their own furniture from discarded wood pallets. We must understand that furnishing a house or apartment is expensive, but if people can put in some time and effort to turn wooden pallets into beds or chairs, it will cut down on expenditure,” said Lee.
MBPJ councillor Peter Chong said it was time to get people to see eco-friendly pallet furniture as a contemporary design for the home and involve people in workshops to guide them in making the furniture.
“Sometimes we need to guide people to create furniture from reclaimed wood. MBPJ must hold such workshops to build the trend that is chic and adds character to the home.
“Lee has told me that MBPJ plans to have a workshop soon in Taman Jaya where residents will be taught how to make simple chairs,” he said.
Chong added that it was crucial for people to start reusing wood pallets to reduce carbon footprint because of space constraints at the landfill and the serious issue of global warming.
During the PJ Waste Summit, residents were able to view wood pallet furniture made by Marini at the PJ Civic Centre off Jalan Yong Shook Lin.