Are the true cost of wooden pallets increasing interest in plastic?
27 Nov 2016
Wooden pallets are an essential tool in the transportation and distribution of items all over the world. They are strong, durable and designed in such a way that they can easily be lifted and moved around by forklift trucks and other heavy lifting machinery.
When they have served their purpose, they may be recycled, reused within the same company or sold on for other purposes. One such purpose could be getting transformed into furniture. Pallet benches, tables and workstations have become a popular emerging interior trend over the last few years, and they certainly make use of a product that, due to its size and design, may not be useful for anything else. Sometimes eagle-eyed carpenters may not even need to worry about wooden pallets price because many firms will simply leave them outdoors for the public to take as they please.
But while wooden pallets are still a firm favourite for businesses and consumers alike, there are environmental issues surrounding them that shouldn’t be overlooked. The production of wooden pallets accounts for over 44% of the hardwood produced in the US every year. Experts may argue that there is no need to worry about this alarming figure because the forests are continuing to grow, but for many environmentally minded groups this isn’t good enough, especially when you also consider the environmental implications of increased transportation alongside the increased production of hardwood pallets.
In addition to this, research shows that because pallets are literally travelling all over the world, they are transporting invasive insects with them. This can mean billions of dollars worth of damage to the environment because of foreign insects are destroying certain tree species.
Because of these factors, some businesses are looking towards the use of plastic pallets instead. One of the main reasons for this is their lifespan is significantly longer. They are more durable, less likely to be damaged by elements such as the weather or chemical exposure and they don’t rely on joints that could become old and worn. Not only does this make them a more attractive alternative to businesses, but it can be environmentally beneficial too: a long-lasting pallet reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill and cuts down on the carbon emissions required to manufacture replacement pallets.
The wooden pallets price is slightly lower than the plastic counterparts, but because of the worrying implications for the environment, this may not stop brand leaders re-evaluating which material they will use going forward. IKEA have already taken steps to change their wooden pallets for more environmentally friendly options. If one of the biggest international furniture retailers can do it, then many other businesses may look to follow suit. Plastic and even paper pallets may soon be a sight we become accustomed to in the transportation and distribution sectors.