Category Archives: Pallets

Reasons Why Stackable Pallets Are a Warehouse Essential

Staying stocked up on inventory means being able to provide your customers with the products they need, but you also need a place to store your products until they hit the shelves. That’s where the warehouse comes in. Your warehouse must be able to handle the amount of products you have to store, however, and that means you’ll need to think about what kinds of pallets you use. You’ll have to find a safe way to store your inventory so that it doesn’t become damaged, which can be done with the help of the right types of pallets and a commitment to organization and safety.

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What Is the Difference Between a Skid Pallet and Plastic Pallet?

Product storage is an essential aspect of running a business, whether you keep your inventory in a warehouse or onsite. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll handle your products before you send them out to the shelves, and there are a handful of options to choose from. Pallets are a popular choice across many different industries, but they’re not all the same. Educate yourself so you know what kinds of options you can choose from and pick the best one for your operation.

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Helpful Tips to Find Pallets for Sale

If you use pallets to keep your business running smoothly, you need a good supplier to ensure you get a quality product that matches your specific needs. Many companies choose to purchase used pallets. To ensure you purchase what you need, there are several points to educate yourself about when researching a supplier to meet your business’ needs. Continue reading

International Shipping: Requirements for Your Shipping Crate

Texture of wooden shipping crate
There is a significant opportunity available for businesses prepared to join the international shipping frenzy. Sales of products shipped to international destinations are growing exponentially, and perceptive companies work carefully to prepare marketing plans aimed at acquiring international business.

Preparing an international shipment requires a little more than just putting product in a box. The proper shipping crate is of the utmost importance, not only to meet regulations but also to protect your shipment.

Each import and export country has their own set of government requirements and customs regulations. To do business confidently in this global economy, it is essential you know what these requirements are.

Customs

Nothing makes a business look worse than shipments being delayed or turned back by customs. Occasional delays are to be expected due to fluctuating factors such as weather, but the grace period only lasts so long before your customers start to look for another supplier.

There is so much to know about the entire customs process. Therefore, before you start, it is best to consider where you will be shipping to. Without careful checking, there is the possibility of your customer being a restricted trading party or embargoed country.

Additionally, restricted and prohibited commodities vary widely between countries. For example, Vietnam considers it a crime to import calendars for commercial use.

Documentation

Any documents for shipping crates internationally need precision and accuracy. The smallest mistake can lead to delays that cost both you and the customer money. The following documents are generally required for shipping so you should familiarize yourself with them, even if you are using a broker:
1. Bill of lading
2. Commercial invoice
3. Consular invoice
4. Inspection certification
5. Destination control statement
6. Certificate of origin
7. Certificate of insurance
8. Warehouse and dock receipts
9. Export packing list
10. Export license (if needed)

Should You Use a Customs Broker?

When you are first starting out, a customs broker may not be required. If you will be shipping internationally on a large scale, choosing a customs broker just makes good sense.

A customs broker is an expert in compliance rules, item classifications, various procedures, trade and tariff agreements, and other foreign restrictions. The biggest benefit is the time and money this will save your business.

They will take care of preparing all the proper documentation for each country. If any problems arise during shipping, or once the importing country has been reached, the customs broker will take care of them.

A good broker will also ensure your shipment reaches its destination as quickly as possible.
Wooden Crates

The “Bug Stamp”

Otherwise known as IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), most countries accepting international shipping crates constructed from wood require this stamp. These rules apply to both supply and packing materials that contain wood.

Packaging material includes items such as wooden drums, crates, pallets, cases, and dunnages used as cargo cushioning.

The purpose of the ISPM 15 rules is to prevent the possible spread of various diseases and pests that come from plant-based materials. The introduction of pests from one country to another can potentially have devastating consequences and is a real cause of concern to the United Nations.

After the use of heat treatments or fumigation to kill fungi or insects, raw wood packaging may receive the stamp. Any shipment containing materials using raw wood will not be permitted to enter destination countries or cross borders of IPPC participants without inspection for the stamp.
Global logistics network Concept of air cargo trucking rail

Height and Weight

There are also restrictions on the height and weight of shipping crates and pallet containers. Forty-eight inches by forty inches by six inches is the standard size for U.S. pallets. The pallet height should not exceed five feet or sixty inches.

The most important consideration is the ability for forklifts to handle the skids or pallets easily. For example, there should be a minimum clearance of 3.5″ on two sides of the base to make them accessible to pallet jacks.
International LCL (Less than Container Load) shipping rules also require that skids on pallets must fit into a forty-foot standard or multi-model ocean freight container.

If they are unable to be moved from one location to another, your shipment will be returned or just sit on the dock.

Your shipment will likely require a prior approval permit from your shipping company if any of the following apply:
1. The skid exceeds more than one-thousand kilos or twenty-two hundred pounds in weight.
2. The skid is more than eighty inches in width.
3. The skid is in excess of one hundred nineteen inches in length.
4. The skids are more than seventy inches tall.

Final Thoughts

There is plenty to think about when shipping crates internationally: weight, height, construction materials, and paperwork.
If your intention is continued growth in your specific industry, it is to your company’s advantage to export. Learning how to do this properly will see all of your shipments go smoothly on the global stage.

Extended Producer Responsibility: Manufacturers to Collect, Recycle, Reuse Packaging

The United States of America has been no stranger to the concept of recycling and reusing products and packaging. The practice of recycling has been around in this country for more than three decades. Introduced in the 1970s, recycling is believed to be one of the oldest and most important cornerstones of the environment movement that garnered mass media attention toward the late 80s and early 90s.

The appeal of recycling and reusing that was present during the early days of the movement has faded away in recent times. People are no longer hyped up or excited about recycling products and packaging waste management. In fact, you would be surprised to know that there are many activists out there who think of recycling as a boring and fusty way of establishing the environment movement. In their opinion, there are far more exciting and innovative solutions to the problems that are being faced by Americans today.

Is the Recycling System Frozen In Time?

The lack of attention toward recycling and packaging waste management over the last decade or so has impeded progress in this field. Given the fact that people no longer think of recycling as an important solution to our environment’s problems, it is not surprising to discover that the entire recycling infrastructure in the United States has been stuck in a 1970s system.

Such a system is not only expensive, but also inefficient, which is why modern-day activists often fail to acknowledge the significance of recycling and its potential to make the world a better place to live in.

That being said, it would unfair to say that recycling rates have been stuck in a limbo over the last 30 years. The rates have steadily increased through the years. However, the consumption has increased at a much higher rate, which has allowed the recycling rates for most recyclable goods to drop below 50%.

This is not a number that the authorities, the private sector, or the consumer society can be proud of. It is also worth noting that the country continues to send $11.4 billion worth of valuable material to landfills every single year. These materials include highly reusable and recyclable materials, such as aluminum and PET plastic. It goes without saying that there is a considerable market demand for these materials that are being wasted on a yearly basis.

As You Sow Foundation

The statistics mentioned above are derived from a report that was released by an organization that is called the As You Sow Foundation. This particular organization is putting up a commendable effort to revive the concept of recycling in the country by partnering up with several enterprises, non-profit organizations, and state legislators.

Their primary motive is to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility into our current economy. Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, is an upgrade to the current U.S. recycling system, according to a number of activists and environmental experts.

What Is EPR?

People in America need to realize the importance of establishing a sustainable recycling system and packaging waste management program that everyone is going to appreciate. The use of recycled and re-used products does not only help the environment, but it also saves the economy a huge amount of money as long as the system functions in the manner that it was supposed to.

Under the current recycling system in the United States, the consumers have to pay for recycling. The process itself is facilitated by the municipal governments, with little to no responsibility being shouldered by the producers, who should be responsible for manufacturing recyclable and reusable goods.

In a recycling system that is based on the principles of Extended Producer Responsibility, the companies that create and use packaging will be required to collect them and recycle/reuse them in whatever way they possibly can.

As the name clearly suggests, this alternative recycling system will put some extra bit of responsibility on businesses in America. They will have to fulfill the duty of protecting the environment, and helping out municipal governments and consumers in increasing the rates of recycling.

Role of the Beverage Industry

From the point of view of the legislators, there is every reason for the United States of America to adopt the Extended Producer Responsibility recycling system. After all, this system has been employed in Europe with tremendous success. In the United States, the beverage companies were the first ones to bring up the proposal of introducing EPR into the system.

Nestle Waters and Coca Cola (although less publicly) were quite interested in giving EPR and packaging waste management a chance. What they really wanted was to see PET plastic recycling increase without further bottle bills being passed by the legislators. These bottle bills were a headache for Nestle Waters and Coca Cola, because they required them to fund the container deposits in certain states of the country.

The Expansion Plan

It is important to note that the introduction of EPR will not be restricted to the beverage industry. Experts believe that it would be a missed opportunity if the plan is not expanded to include the grocery industry alongside the beverage business. The expansion makes a lot of sense, because an increase in the number of participants (in the form of individuals, companies, or organizations) will result in a lowered cost for everyone and higher recycling rates throughout the country.

This will keep the producers, the consumers, and the environmentalists equally happy. However, such a scenario can only be achieved if the authorities are able to make a perfectly smooth transition into the EPR system, which is quite a difficult task to accomplish.

Beverage Industry versus Grocery Industry

The beverage industry has been criticized for its inability to improve the recycling rates of bottles and cans for a number of years. However, the grocery manufacturers have been able to escape the wrath of critics, legislators, and passionate environmentalists. This is the reason why the manufacturers in the grocery industry are less on board with the EPR plan. They feel as though they are not nearly as responsible as the beverage industry, for polluting the environment by neglecting recycling and reusing opportunities.

Why Are the Beverage Companies Expressing Interest?

When you think about it, you realize that the major players in the beverage industry desperately need the EPR plan for two simple reasons. First, adopting this plan and establishing it across the country will help them fend off a good number of their hostile critics.

Second, the implementation of the EPR will allow them to enjoy a much lower cost on recycled PET. Once the cost of recycled PET is reduced, beverage companies will be able to use more recycled content in bottles without getting their costs increased significantly.

In short, the primary reason why beverage companies are so deeply interested in implanting the Extended Producer Responsibility is because it will allow them to rake in more cash at the end of the day. The monetary incentive in recycling and packaging waste management is strong enough to make them really push this idea forward.

What the Beverage Companies Have to Say

The high-ranking officials of several reputable beverage companies have expressed their opinions on why the industry as a whole is promoting the idea of implementing EPR. For instance, according to Michael Washburn (director of sustainability for Nestle Waters, North America), packaging is the largest environmental footprint that the beverage companies are leaving behind.

Therefore, from the perspective of sustainability, it is very important for companies like Nestle Waters and others to increase the use of recycled PET. As of this moment, they are being unable to enhance their reliance on recycled PET. Once again, there are two simple reasons for this. The cost of recycled PET is still very high, and the supply of the product is quite limited.

The Perspective of Grocery Producers

As far as the manufacturers of the grocery industry are concerned, the monetary incentive is a lot less, compared to the one that the beverage companies are eyeing at the moment. According to many grocery manufacturers, EPR is nothing more than an additional and partly unnecessary expense that they can easily do without.

As of this moment, most grocery manufacturers, including the major players in the industry, are simply playing the waiting game. They are waiting to see how big of an issue EPR becomes in the coming months or years. If the legislators, activists and consumer society keep pushing for the implementation of EPR, then the manufacturers in the grocery industry will probably hop on the bandwagon at the last moment. However, until that happens, the producers in this industry are content with simply watching things unfold without taking any proactive actions whatsoever.

People who understand the benefits and overall value of EPR may dislike the kind of attitude that the grocery producers have put on display. However, it needs to be understood that a genuine financial incentive or the establishment of stringent regulations from the authorities are the only things that will compel the beverage companies to embrace the idea of Extend Producer Responsibility. Right now, they are pretty happy watching packaging and products worth millions of dollars ending up in landfill sites.

This begs the question, “Will EPR ever become a big enough issue for the grocery producers?” The answer depends on the actions of organizations such as “As You Sow.” If they join hands with the right companies and legislators, then they will be able to make this a big enough deal for people to be emotionally and financially invested.

The Initiation Plan

The EPR system cannot be implemented without the authorities, the legislators, and the companies paying their dues. In other words, the implantation program needs to start off with small baby steps. You cannot expect Extended Producer Responsibility to become an overnight sensation even if majority of the companies in the beverage and grocery industry get on board.

It is going to take a lot of time, patience, and effort before EPR makes its mark on individual states across the country. Hence, it is very important for the people in charge of making EPR a possibility to come up with a fail-proof initiation plan for this brand-new recycling system. The EPR program should first be established in a state that has an active curbside recycling system. This would pave the path for a unified, national EPR system.

Overcoming the Challenges of Collecting, Recycling, and Reusing Packaging

If your business is not familiar with the EPR system, or does not have the expertise to create a perfect collecting, recycling and reusing program, then there is no reason for you to feel left out. You need to think small before going big. A packaging waste management system with reusable packaging and containers that can be easily bought and sold today is a great start.

In fact, there are all kinds of reusable containers that you can purchase nowadays. Some of the more common examples include pallet containers, wire baskets, metal bins, drums, IBC Totes, insulated containers, Gaylord boxes, stack racks, and bulk bags.

These containers are used repeatedly between a consumer and a producer or within a facility. In fact, the containers can be used thousands of times, while the packaging can be easily recycled. If the economy inclines toward an EPR system, then it would be necessary for your business to rely on reusable containers that can be easily collected.

The major problem that people have with the EPR system is that the upfront costs of establishing a seamless collection system for returnable packaging seem quite high. However, producers need to realize that there is a golden opportunity to cut down on costs and boost savings in the long term, as long as the packaging is being recycled efficiently, and the bulk containers, metal bins, and totes are being used over and over again.

Think of it in this way. Once you start using and collecting reusable containers and returnable packaging, you will be able to trim labor costs significantly (as you no longer have to employ people for box assembly). The amount of time and money spent on material handling is also reduced. You will also have to deal with fewer rejects due to damaged packaging, as you are using the same containers over and over again. Most importantly, you can reap the rewards of increased floor space, as plastic and metal containers can be piled up into a huge stack.

EPR would not only help to minimize the damage caused to the environment, but would also give producers an opportunity to lower their costs and improve their profit margins. The beverage companies are ready to profit from the EPR system. The grocery producers are also considering it. It is high time that you give recycling and reusing a chance, as well.

Eleven Ways to Perforate the Problem of Prolific Plastics

Recycling and repurposing containers and packaging is a great way to make your business more green. Learn why this is important and how to start addressing plastic problems and solutions.

According to Mother Nature Network, the United States, alone, produces over 30 million tons of plastic waste each and every year. Since only 5 percent of plastic waste gets recycled, 28.5 million tons of plastic end up in our environment…each year. Nearly 50 percent of this waste goes into landfills where it will take many thousands of years to decompose. Forty-five percent of the plastic refuse is simply floating around the world as litter with much of it ending up in our rivers and lakes. Other plastics get washed out to sea to join up with one of the several floating trash gyres (floating islands of trash the size of Texas or greater). One of the gyres, the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, is as large as a continent and is wiping out sea life.

How Does That Impact My Business?

Many businesses leaders are aware of facts like these and genuinely want to help the planet, but they have shareholders, need to be concerned with profits, and, quite honestly, are commercial operations and not vigilante recycling organizations. These leaders want to know about plastic problems and solutions, but still need to take their bottom line into account. How does recycling and repurposing plastics impact their organizations, and what can they do about it.

First, green is the new…well, green. If you want to keep the greenbacks coming in, thinking environmentally green is a great idea. In fact, a survey by Cone Communications showed that “a record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they shop, up from 66 percent in 2008.” And, it’s not just Americans that want businesses to be environmentally friendly. According to the Neilson group, “Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.”

Simply put, consumers want to do business with businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible. Recycling and repurposing containers and packaging are excellent green ideas for businesses and offer the easiest way to start.

Second, when businesses take green initiatives, it makes their staff happy and that is good for morale and PR. After all, many of those customers who buy green are also your employees. When they know that they are working for a company “with a heart” and that has taken an initiative to help the enviornment, they feel better about their work. This not only creates happy employees, but they share that happiness with their family and friends. Every CEO knows the value of good PR and marketing. How much more valuable is it when that marketing and PR doesn’t cost you a dime?

Third, the bottom line is actually impacted by recycling and repurposing. Used containers and shipping materials can be purchased cheaper than new ones. Tax breaks can be earned through recycling efforts or donating materials to local schools or other non-profits. In addition to all of the good-will you will be earning, you will be making positive financial contributions to the company through lower product costs and tax breaks.

How Do I Start?

Understanding that recycling and repurposing is good for business is one thing, but putting a plan into operation is another. How does one go about making a difference and becoming “more green”? Let’s take a look at eleven ways that you can make a difference on both a personal and corporate level.

Corporate Alternatives

Plastic problems and solutions go beyond the realm of personal consumption. They are also used on an industrial scale in businesses and corporations around the world. The number of plastic items that end up in landfills can be decreased dramatically by reusing and repurposing the myriad plastic containers used each and every day. In fact, the EarthWorks Group estimates that single-use paper and plastic package amount to 30 percent of waste in our nation’s landfills. Consider these amazing green ideas for businesses instead of one-use packaging and storage:

Bulk Containers

When shipping or storing bulk items, consider purchasing collapsable or uniform bulk containers that have been used and cleaned. Since the aesthetics of the container are not an issue, a few scuffs or marks are not going to affect the container’s usefulness or purpose. Whether you are moving or storing powders and granules or manufactured goods, many bulk containers are able to hold over a ton of weight regardless of whether or not they were previously used.

Plastic Pallets

Wood pallets break, absorb leaked material, and are generally disposable. This means you are shelling out money each time you need a new pallet. Plastic pallets are durable, reusable, and already in the market. Reusing a plastic pallet not only saves you money, but it keeps treated wood (not safe or desirable) out of the landfills.

Plastic pallets are also bug-free and deter the growth of bacteria and mold. Bugs are the main reason that wooden pallets must be heat treated. Not only do wood pallets absorb fats, solvents, odors, mold, mildew, and bacteria, but they are susceptible to insects. For example, the emerald ash borer is a pest that can easily hitch a ride in wooden pallets and then cause tremendous amounts of damage to its new environment. Plastic pallets do not allow absorption or infestation.

There are many reasons to use pallets, but no good reasons to avoid switching to used plastic ones. They are cost-effective and good for the environment.

Stackable Totes

Stackable and nesting totes are containers used for storage and shipping. They are made from extra-durable material and have a long life. Sadly, many companies continue to buy more and more totes instead of seeking an alternative solution. Selling your old totes or buying used ones from a container exchanger is not only extremely cost-effective, but it lessens the need for more plastic totes to be manufactured, which is good for the environment as well as valuable green ideas for businesses.

Much more durable than cardboard, the stackable nesting totes stack within each other for storage, but when the lid is added they stack on top of each other. Because they are fully sealed, they can store anything from powder to manufactured goods. The totes are often designed to be used in conjunction with plastic pallets.

Plastic Organizers

A favorite of every business from the admin office to the mechanic’s garage and carpenter’s shop, stacking and nesting organizers are one of the most efficient ways to keep your papers, nuts, bolts, tools, and widgets separated and organized. If you doubt their durability, just think about how many uses nesting bins are good for at the TSA area of an airport.

Next time you set out to the office supply store or industrial wholesaler to pick up some organizers, consider purchasing ones that have been used. They still function the same, but they can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. Even better, you reduced your carbon footprint and took one more step toward being a green industry.

Personal Alter

Polystyrene

also known as styrofoam, is used in everything from packing material to egg cartons and from plates, bowls, and cups to take out containers at restaurants. Consider these four easy ways you can cut down on the use of styrofoam by using your own glass containers.

  • At the meat counter, provide your own packaging. The butcher can weigh your container, balance out the scale, and price the meat for you without using plastic wraps or Styrofoam meat trays.
  • Carry your own coffee cup with you. Almost every restaurant, gas station, and fast food joint will fill up your container instead of putting your drink in a disposable cup.
  • Bring your own “take out” containers to the restaurant. Most of us know if we are going to finish our meal when we go out to eat. Past history tells us that some people clear their plates, and others take half of their meal home. We also know which restaurants provide scanty portions and which go overboard, so you know when to bring additional containers. Instead of adding another stack of Styrofoam containers to the garbage, simply put the unused food in your own reusable containers. If you are ordering take-out, you can give the service person your container and ask that they put your food in it instead of using their packaging. They may give you an odd look at first, but you might be surprised how quickly the idea catches on.
  • Make sure you get your eggs in cardboard and not Styrofoam containers. If you have extra egg containers, bring them back to the store so they can be reused. If you only use a dozen eggs a week, you will keep several thousand containers out of the landfills over your adult lifetime.

Plastic bags

are everywhere. It is estimated that plastic bags are used millions of times every minute around the clock. To cut down on plastic bag use, consider the following:

  • Bring your own bags to the grocery. At the very least, ask for paper bags at checkout. The average consumer disposes of several hundred small plastic grocery bags each year. You can make a huge impact on the environment simply by transporting your groceries in a reusable or greener alternative.
  • Bring your own produce bags. A thin cotton bag (you can make one from an old t-shirt) is the perfect way to transport your fruits and vegetables without adding more plastic bags to the system. Additionally, since the cotton breathes, it is better for your produce.
  • Use your own bags at the bulk food aisle or store. Simply check with customer service prior to filling the bag to find out how they will deduct the weight of the bag for you.

Bring your own straw

While this may seem silly at first, there are billions of straws that end up in our ecosystem every year, and they don’t decompose any faster than plastic bags, which means they will be there for the next thousand years, at least. It may not seem convenient, but once you get used to bringing your own stainless steel straw with you, it will be hard to remember doing things any other way.

Avoid plastic juice containers

Not only does juice contain extra sugar and, often, additives like high fructose corn syrup, but it is missing the fiber from the actual fruit. If you feel you must have juice, modern blenders and juicers are able to provide high-quality juice in a matter of moments. By eliminating just two bottled juice containers each week, you, alone, will quickly reduce the number of plastic bottles in our environment.

Choose refillable metal lighters or use matches

There are billions of disposable lighters sold every year in the United States. Hundreds of millions of these lighters end up in storm drains, on our shorelines, and in landfills. In addition to the plastic taking thousand of years to decompose, the unused chemicals seep into the water supply, and animals see the bright colors and eat them, often dying from this consumption.

Say no to bottled water

Ban the Bottle’s fact page says that “Americans use some 50 billion plastic water bottles annually – that’s over $1 billion in plastic. And we recycle just one-quarter of them.” By taking advantage of reusable bottles, you are are helping to save the land, waterways, and oceans.

Consider using cloth diapers

This isn’t suggesting that you go back to swaths of cotton clumsily pinned to your baby’s bottom. The cloth diapers of today are form-fitted with elastic legs and button or velcro closures. They can be paired with absorbent covers for extra protection. Because of advances in textile technology, diaper materials do not need to be soaked in tubs of bleach and do not create horrible smelling sections of your home.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that disposable diapers amount to over 7.5 billion pounds of waste each and every year in the United States. Not only are cloth diapers easy to use, convenient, less expensive than disposables, and better for the baby’s skin, but they are a great way to reduce your contributions to landfills, as well as your carbon footprint. Your use of cloth diapers might not eliminate the 20 billion disposable diapers that are thrown away each year, but you can reduce that number by approximately 6,000 for each one of your children who use cloth!

The Bottom Line

Millennials are consumers who think green. It doesn’t take a complete retrofit of your industry or corporation to make a difference, either. A small change in your personal and corporate habits can have a major impact on your business and your world. Best of all, if you are using a container exchange service, you can save enough money to have a major, positive impact on your bottom line, as well.

Why Companies Are Switching to Metal Pallets

Mention the word pallet, and the image that most comes to mind is a wooden flatbed, of sorts, on a warehouse floor. A pallet is a structural foundation used to hold and ship large bundles of items, and it comes in a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal. It is an essential link in the global supply chain. 

By 2017, it is estimated there will be almost 10 million shipping pallets in global circulation. Needless to say, the material used to construct the pallets and how often they are reused will have an enormous impact on budgets, the environment and the needs of many industries.  

Metal pallets are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. They are the strongest and most durable pallets on the market. They are heavier than wood pallets and usually have a higher initial cost. They meet USDA and FDA cleanliness standards and are part of the growing green business trends.  

Why Metal?

In a time of economic and environmentally conscious awareness metal or aluminum, pallets are the perfect solution for warehouse and shipping needs. They offer an excellent alternative to the traditional wood or plastic options, and they are a better return on your investment.

Usage of metal pallets has significantly increased over recent years, especially in industries requiring transportation of heavy goods. Catering businesses are also participating in these green business trends due to easy sanitation. Some benefits of metal pallets are:

  • Weather resistant and do not warp or rot
  • They are fire resistant
  • They are stronger
  • Reusable indefinitely
  • Maintenance free
  • Easily sanitized and appropriate for food and chemical industries 
  • Improved sustainability with no performance constraints
  • No insect infestation
  • Lower costs over their lifetime
  • Longer lifespan
  • Withstand extremes in temperatures
  • Do not splinter like wood pallets

Environmental Impact

From an economic point of view, the lifecycle of cleaning, disinfecting, durability, and recyclability, these cost less than wood or plastic pallets.

  • Metal pallets have a positive environmental impact because they last longer than pallets made from other materials.
  • They are stronger and can transport or store larger amounts of a product, so the number of pallets needed is less, which ultimately means fewer to dispose of. 
  • More product can be shipped on the metal pallet, so transportation is less frequent, and vehicle emissions are lowered and air quality is improved. Your carbon footprint is reduced. 
  • Metal pallets have a lifespan of around 15 years, and they are extremely durable, whereas wood pallets, for example, are used for a short period of time before being discarded in a landfill. 
  • They are 100% recyclable. 
  • They can be sold to scrap metal dealers at the end of their lifecycle. 

Economic Impact 

  • The most significant economic impact on a company using metal pallets is the ability to reuse the pallets, therefore, reducing procurement of new pallets. 
  • Metal pallets can be adjusted for size, so it is unnecessary to purchase different sizes. 
  • Freight costs are reduced because of the durability of the pallets and the increased return load density.
  • Insurance premiums are lowered because metal pallets are fireproof. 
  • Less money is spent on repairing broken pallets and disposing of metal pallets.
  • They withstand extremes in temperatures so do not need special climatizing.  
  • There is no costly heat treatment or certification. 
  • Electrical costs are reduced because of metal conduction.
  • Protect inventory from damage.

Sanitation & Safety 

Sanitation is one of the main reasons metal pallets have become so popular in several industries. Wood pallets are less hygienic and absorb moisture, harboring germs. Plastic pallets harbor bacteria in scratches, which can be costly to sterilize. 

  • Has a smooth and polished surface which is dirt and bacteria resistant.
  • Use hot water and detergent to clean. 
  • Is corrosion resistant. 
  • Has visible parts and no cracks to hold debris. 
  • Seldom breaks and is easy to repair. 
  • Easy to decontaminate. 
  • Fire resistant,  so there is less risk of fires. 

Final Thoughts

When you walk into any warehouse, manufacturing, or retail facility, it is hard to miss the pallets strewn around. This simple piece of warehouse equipment attracts a lot of attention, and often for the wrong reasons, such as broken pallets and spoiled inventory. 

Many companies are introducing metal pallets an alternative to wood or plastic options because of the improved impact on their bottom line, as well as environmental and safety improvements. The characteristics that shippers prioritize will ultimately dictate pallet preference. Certain industries may favor one type of pallet material over another. 

With so many pallet options to consider, diligent shippers, warehouse management, and other industries can find the best match for their organization to help keep their company operating efficiently and economically. In the long run, following green business trends will not only cut costs, but cut waste as well!   

The Different Types of Pallet Trucks

Pallet trucks are generally the workhorse in any warehouse. Some of our tips for warehouse workers will help run the facility more efficiently. Save time and money by determining which types of pallet trucks will best fit your business needs.

Hand Pallet Truck

Although a hand truck is very basic, it is certainly a useful piece of equipment. Controlled manually, a hand pallet truck carries heavy loads from one location to another with a minimum of human effort. A hand pallet truck’s forks are placed under the item being moved, with the jack then lifting the object. The operator navigates the truck by the handle to transport the item to its new location. 

Various models provide assistance for making any moving job easier. Low profile trucks are helpful for moving very low pallets or crates, and trucks with longer forks are perfect for handling much longer items. An assortment of weight capabilities also exists for moving regular-sized to heavier loads.

Hand trucks are very convenient since they are small and lightweight. They can easily fit in the back of a pick-up truck or box van, and are perfect for use in tight spaces where lift height is not essential.

High Lift Truck

These types of pallet trucks are constructed to lift pallets to a practical and safe working height. This enables employees to handle items without needing to constantly bend and lift the items from floor level. High lift trucks can help alleviate or reduce muscular discomfort or injuries to employees on the job. They can also provide enormous assistance to workers on assembly lines and packing processors. 

Weighing Scale Truck

A scale on this pallet truck indicates the weight of the items being moved. This function is helpful in numerous situations, permitting objects to be weighed whenever required. A useful piece of equipment for busy factory floors and loading bays, this pallet truck fulfills a very specific function. 

Manual Stacker

This piece of equipment differs from a pallet truck since it takes functionality further by providing moving pallets, along with lift assistance. Since manual stackers make lifting much easier, they can be considered a less expensive option to a forklift. Their smaller size makes this device ideal to use in size-limited warehouses or loading areas where they are needed to lift items onto vehicles or into pallet stacking for off-ground storage.

Electric Walk Behind

This piece of equipment is the battery-powered form of the hand pallet truck. It is a small machine, approximately double the size of a hand pallet truck, with lifting ability of typically 4,500 pounds to 6,000 pounds.

The advantage of using an electric walk behind truck is the mechanical support for raising and driving the truck. By pressing a button, the operator can raise and lower a load, as the machine contains a drive wheel to assist in transferring the load. There is no need for the operator to pull the load and machine, or to pump the handle manually to lift the weight.

Either an onboard battery pack or industrial battery provides power to this truck. Disadvantages, however, are batteries need regular recharging, and the machine consists of more moving parts, which require more maintenance than the manual truck.  

Rider Pallet Truck

This machine is an electric walk behind with the added feature of a riding platform. As opposed to having to walk behind the truck, the operator steps onto a platform on the pallet truck and rides along. This feature allows the rider pallet truck a better range for moving loads longer distances. It is also battery-powered with an onboard industrial battery.

Disadvantages to using a rider pallet truck are that it has an awkward posture and exposes the operator to possible hazards. Since this machine weighs several thousand pounds, it can easily cause damage to adjacent structures or cause injury. These trucks are very popular and used on a daily basis, but they can be dangerous machines due to the way the operator is situated and exposed on the end of the machine.

Center Rider

This pallet truck is built similar to the rider pallet truck, but has the extra benefit of being safer to use and is better ergonomically designed. It allows the operator to look completely forward or backward instead of sideways as on a regular rider pallet truck. It is a much better machine for traveling longer and mainly straight distances. Since it can be slightly tougher to turn than a rider pallet truck, it operates better in areas where the operator mostly drives in a straight line.

Counterbalanced Walker Stacker

The jack on this machine is able to reach up to eight feet off the ground. All other pallet trucks mentioned have lift capabilities of not more than approximately eight inches. This stacker runs electrically, and contains a substantial chassis and lifting pole. It prevents tipping over by use of the counterweight of the industrial battery, equipment elements, and steel construction.

Some tips for warehouse workers – stacker machines are smaller and more economical than ride-on counterbalanced forklifts. It is a terrific choice for lifting pallets onto racks or moving machines in areas such as small storerooms and machine shops.

Walker Straddle Stacker

Very similar to the counterbalanced stacker, this machine is equipped with outrigger attachments to prevent it from tipping over when lifting a load. This machine has a smaller track than the counterbalanced stacker, but has comparable lifting abilities and capacity. Straddle stackers are also available with a reaching carriage that permits for use in narrow aisles.