Why Plastic Pallets are Better Than Wood Pallets
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Plastic pallets are better than wood pallets for various reasons such as; they are easier to clean, lighter than wood, and more durable. However, they are generally expensive, may break under heavy loads, and are not easy to repair if cracked.

Quality

  • Plastic pallets are weather resistant and don’t rot or corrode. They are durable, easy to clean, odor-resistant, lightweight, fire retardant, and recyclable. They are also generally expensive, may break under heavy loads, and are not easy to repair if cracked.
  • Wood pallets start to deteriorate after doing about 6 trips whereas plastic pallets may not deteriorate even after doing over 250 trips.
  • Wooden pallets offer quick customization, are easy to repair, and have high endurance.
  • Wooden pallets also have nails and screws which make them “less safe to handle.”
  • Records show that plastic pallets are ideal for goods that have high hygiene requirements during transport and storage because plastic is very easy to clean and disinfect. On the other hand, wood pallets usually absorb moisture and are vulnerable to contamination.

2. Sustainability

  • According to Green Processing Company, plastic pallets are considered eco-friendly because unlike wood pallets, they can be reused, and when damaged beyond repair, they can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
  •  Plastic pallets also have fewer international restrictions compared to wooden pallets.
  • An extensive search in industry reports, news articles, and government publications did not find any indication of regulatory pressure in the U.S. to reduce the usage of plastic pallets in the following 5-10 years. Many reports indicate that plastic pallets are ideal for export.
  • To stop the spread of wood pests, about 85 countries have adopted the ISPM15 regulation. The regulation state that “all exporters must ensure that any wooden packaging used to export goods must be heat-treated, stamped and certified before shipping. Failure to use correctly treated and certified wooden pallets will result in delays and extra costs at the port of entry.”

3. Cost

  • The initial investment cost of wood pallets is much lower than for plastic pallets, however, research has shown that in the long run, plastic pallets are cheaper. Wood pallets start to deteriorate after doing about 6 trips whereas plastic pallets may not deteriorate even after doing over 250 trips.
  • According to Stratosphere, the price of a plastic pallet averages $35 to $45. However, the range can be as broad as $5 to $200 for top end models with special features. Recycled models are available, and the ones we found ranged in price from around $10 to $20.
  • According to iGPS, new wooden pallets costs between $12 (stringer) and $25 (sturdier) depending on the type of wood. Used stringer pallets that have made one trip costs $4 to $5 per pallet. New plastic pallets are approximately $23 to $33 more expensive while recycled ones are $5 to $6 more expensive than wooden pallets.
  • Plastic pallets are lighter than wooden pallets and since weight is a cost factor in the transportation industry, plastic pallets may reduce the cost of transportation of goods.

Other

  • According to Polymer Solutions International, plastic pallets “make the in-process and logistics use easier.”
  • According to SHD Logistics, IoT technology on plastic pallets will enable tracking of the movements of goods, measure weight, and temperature.
GLENN TREVOR
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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