What To Consider When Choosing Plastic Pallets for Your Shipping Exports
27 Feb 2016
Pallets are perhaps the most widely used packaging solution in the freight industry. Wooden pallets are a common sight in warehouses, logistics centres and trucks the world over due to their cheapness, but wood can easily splinter, warp and weaken. This can lead to businesses spending more overall because they have to constantly re-order pallets. Splintering also poses a health and safety risk to those handling the freight. Plastic pallets are technological innovations that remedy these problems and present many benefits in their own right. But are they an appropriate solution for your logistics needs?
Cutting Costs, Not Trees
Whilst traditional wooden pallets suffer from mould, splintering and warping, plastic is a very durable and reusable material. The initial outlay can be greater, but plastic material can last up to ten years, providing great value for money in the longer term. Expenditure is further reduced in the form of shipping costs due to the fact that plastic is around 30 per cent lighter than wooden material of the same volume.
Plastic pallets are also an excellent solution for international shipping. Any timber-based materials travelling between countries must be ISPM 15 compliant. ISPM 15 is an international convention designed to protect against spreading invasive plant and insect species to vulnerable ecosystems. Wood pallets have to be fumigated or heat-treated and stamped with a certifying mark or they will not be shipped.
Even if your freight shipment uses ISPM 15 compliant pallets, if it doesn’t also have the proper paperwork documenting the wood treatment process, customs authorities can turn away the goods or delay their entry. Plastic is exempt from ISPM 15, making them far more efficient and eradicating interruptions in the delivery chain.
Built to Last
Plastic is much safer to handle than wood, as it won’t splinter or chip, meaning no nasty surprises for freight handlers. Plastics are also very resistant to chemicals and so can be cleaned easily and in a variety of ways – from chemical sanitisation to steam-cleaning, the durability of plastic can handle it. Additionally, it goes without saying that plastic is a much more eco-friendly option than wood. Plastic pallets are totally recyclable, and as they reach the end of their service life they can easily be turned into a brand new sturdy pallet or be moulded into other forms of storage such as plastic boxes.
Of course, there may be occasions where wood is a more suitable choice. For example, if your pallet is being shipped away with no chance of retrieval, it wouldn’t be cost-effective to use the more expensive plastic option. But for applications that will re-use the pallet many times, plastic is by far the most efficient option, making it is easy to see why more and more companies are taking the step of optimising their logistics operation with the aid of plastic pallets.