Why Are Reusable Plastic Pallets Preferable For Transporting Fresh Produce?
08 Jun 2016
One of the things that consumers frequently criticise about supermarkets is the amount of packaging that’s used and wasted.
Interestingly, this applies to loose fruit and vegetables too, with a recent survey by Brandcheck showing that shoppers prefer to see these goods in reusable plastic boxes rather than in cardboard. This preference is by a big margin – 55 percent to 25 percent.
The advantage of plastic
The use of plastic containers may please shoppers, but it’s good for the retailer and distributor too.
They protect the food better than cardboard or wooden containers as they’re less prone to being damaged or crushed, and because they can be reused time and again they’re sustainable and cost effective. They’re also better for manual handling as there are no sharp edges, splinters or staples. Using plastic boxes therefore makes a lot of sense.
It’s not only boxes that are better when made of plastic. The standard wooden pallet is also under threat from plastic alternatives.
It’s easy to see why this is so, especially in the food industry. Wooden pallets are easily damaged and if they get wet, insects and other pests find their joints and cracks a convenient place to lurk.
A plastic pallet avoids this as well as eliminating risk from splinters and rusty nails that could injure operatives. It also makes it easy to avoid falling foul of export regulations that may restrict the use of some types of timber.
There’s no need to be wary of employing used plastic pallets as they’re easy to wash and any leaks or spillages won’t cause lasting damage to the material. Their resilient nature also means that they can be used outdoors in all weather conditions.
Of course there are some downsides. A plastic pallet can’t be repaired as easily as a wooden one, but on the other hand they’re tough and therefore more resistant to damage to start with.
Plastic pallets also have a long life – around 10 years on average. This is another advantage over their wooden counterparts and one which helps offset their higher initial costs.
When they do reach the end of their useful life, plastic pallets can be recycled to make new products. For the food industry in particular, using plastic boxes and pallets makes a considerable amount of sense.
This is not just in terms of protecting the produce, but also in hygiene, safety and, ultimately, in protecting the environment.