Plastic Pallets are More Popular, but Wooden Pallets Still Have a Place
02 Sep 2014
In recent years, there has been a very noticeable shift within the materials-handling industry to using plastic pallets rather than the more traditional wooden variety. This should come as no surprise really, as utilising plastic pallets brings a number of distinct advantages. In addition to being easier to handle due to their light weight (plastic is approximately 30% lighter than wood), plastic pallets are also far more hygienic. As they are resistant to both moisture and chemical absorption, this type of pallet is ideal for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries, where good hygiene is of paramount importance.
Making Life Easier
This marked shift to using plastic pallets rather than wooden ones has certainly made life easier for many firms operating within the logistics and materials-handling industry, particularly those involved with food. However, wooden pallets are not in danger of becoming extinct anytime soon. Indeed, there are still a number of sectors within the industry which use wooden pallets as opposed to the plastic variety. Building materials and furniture items are often transported on wooden pallets, as the wooden variety is stronger than its plastic counterpart and is more suited to carrying heavy loads. It is a similar scenario for companies which operate within the industrial machinery sector. Many smaller firms also prefer to use wooden pallets, as they are cheaper to purchase and can be repaired.
Furniture and Upcycling
One place where wooden pallets remain favoured over plastic is within the slightly more unusual area of furniture-making and upcycling. Pallet furniture has become big business in recent years, with scores of examples to be found across the internet. Working with wooden pallets is straightforward and very cost-effective, with many used pallets to be found for free online.
Wood is obviously ideal for furniture making and pallet upcycling as it is flexible, recyclable and usually very strong. Plastic pallets are really not suited to this area, as the material is very difficult to change to any sort of degree and basically has to be left as it is. Another advantage that wood enjoys over plastic in this area is its aesthetic qualities. Furniture made from plastic can sometimes look functional and a little sterile, whereas wood can add a touch of quality and tradition to a piece.
A Place for Both Plastic and Wood
It would be fair to say that both plastic pallets and wooden pallets still have a place in the modern world, with each variety having a distinct part to play. The decision about which material to choose very much depends on how the pallets are to be used and within which industry. With the variety of projects which require the use of pallets becoming ever more widespread, it seems that neither type of pallet will disappear any time soon.