While plastic pallets represent just 10 % of the total pallet market, their share is growing impressively, doubling in size over the past ten years.
The plastic option is now widely taken up in the meat and general food industry where hygiene is crucial.
And the same pattern is seen in the medical and pharmaceutical industry where the prevention of contamination is of prime importance. Plastic constructed pallets are also used in the export of general goods to avoid the timber treatment regulations.
Plastic for Sustainability
A parallel and major driver in the move to plastic is the trend toward increasing sustainability throughout the supply chain.
As companies strive to become more eco-friendly, the reusable characteristic of these new age pallets make them increasingly attractive. And one of plastic’s environmental advantages centers on its repeated re-usability.
Here the contrast with wood is massive. Wood pallets last for somewhere between seven to 10 trips before retirement-and that lifespan includes several revamps to replace broken or missing deck boards or nails.
But switch to plastic pallets and you can realistically expect between 200 and 250 trips!
Another eco advantage is a likely cut in landfill costs. While wooden pallets can be chipped, the cost of removing metal and nails has to be factored in – a point often overlooked. But when a pallet made of plastic is retired it can be ground into resin and reformed as new.
Plastic is also recognized as being more sanitary and easier to clean than wood. And since its doesn’t absorb moisture or harbor bacteria – such as salmonella, E. coli, or listeria – it makes it the ideal pallet choice for processing and handling in the food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical sectors.
Other Pluses for Plastic
- They tend to be lighter than their wooden counterparts, making them more ergonomic and easier to handle in manual operations. They can be provided in light weight specifications to save on freight costs or heavy duty for racking or storage purposes.
- Plastic pallets are more uniform in size, shape and weight. And with more and more industries turning to automation for manufacturing and warehousing, uniformity is a prerequisite to effective operations.
- The plastic pallet does not cause jams, resulting in more uptime and improved line speed.”
- When replacing wood pallets with plastic pallets in automated operations, equipment uptime will improve dramatically