There are more products (and pallets) moving around the world than ever before with two billion pallets in the U.S. alone. While most pallets in the industry are made of wood, plastic pallets come with some surprising benefits, especially when it comes to pallet picking. Most items are shipped and stored using a pallet. Learn how switching out your wood pallets can improve your warehouse picking operations.
1. Less Mess
Everyone deserves to have a clean workspace, but wooden pallets can lead to the spread of dirt and debris. The wood can release dust into the atmosphere, which makes it harder for your employees to breathe. Wood chips are also considered a fall hazard. Your workers have to spend time sweeping and cleaning your work site as pallets come and go.
Use plastic pallets to reduce the amount of clutter in your facility. The plastic won’t spread debris for a safer work environment.
2. Added Durability
Wood pallets aren’t as durable as their plastic counterparts. The plastic won’t break down or lose its ability to support your products over time. Your workers will need to use a lift truck to move the pallet, but this can lead to accidents on the floor. Someone might accidentally slam the cart or one of the forks on the truck into the pallet, cause the wood to break or splinter. Your workers should be able to handle your pallets without worrying about damaging them by mistake.
3. Stable Packing Dimensions
Size matters in the warehousing industry. If the size or shape or your products or containers change over time, you may have trouble fitting these items on the shelf or in the truck. Wood pallets will warp if they are exposed to moisture. Excess heat will also cause the wood to expand.
In other cases, the wood will chip away, thus changing the dimensions of the pallet. Plastic pallets stay the same size regardless of how or where you use them. They have smooth, flat edges for maximum space efficiency. This makes it easy to plan out the space when designing the layout of your facility.
Your suppliers, retailers and business partners prefer working with stable shipping materials that won’t degrade over time. If one of your packages doesn’t fit on the truck, it might get left behind.
4. Save Time on International Shipping
You may need to move your products from one pallet to another if they are being shipped overseas. All wooden shipping materials must be treated for wood-borne pests when moving across international borders. If there’s a chance some of your goods will be shipped overseas, keep them on a plastic pallet to save time when preparing shipments for delivery. If you use a wood pallet, you’ll either need to make sure it’s treated or move it onto another pallet before handing it off to the delivery person.
5. Extended Working Life
Plastic pallets are designed to last longer than wooden pallets, so you don’t have to replace your shipping materials as often. You can reuse plastic pallets many times over without putting your products at risk. Just take a few minutes to wash off the pallet before putting it back in rotation, especially if it has been exposed to toxic chemicals or bacteria.
Wood pallets are harder to clean than plastic pallets. Hazardous chemicals may be absorbed into the wood, posing a danger to you and your employees. You should recycle or dispose of these pallets instead of putting them back into rotation.
You don’t want to hold onto any more pallets than necessary or these items will take up valuable space in your facility. If you need to get rid of pallets down the line, you can always sell your used plastic pallets online to recoup more of your investment.
Plastic pallets may not be the right choice for your facility. If you ship your goods in metal storage bins, it’s best to use a metal pallet instead, or the container may scratch the plastic.
At the end of the day, plastic pallets lead to fewer disruptions, so your workers can get your products out the door as quickly as possible.