Category Archives: Plastic Pallets

New vs. Used Pallets: Pros and Cons

closeup of plastic pallets on factory floor

Pallets have become the bread and butter of any industrial facility. We use them to store, move and lift items all day long, making them an integral part of your company’s operations. But as a manager, you’ll have to decide between new and used pallets. Both can get the job done, but each choice comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Continue reading

Plastic Pallets: A Crucial Staple to Your Warehouse

bright plastic containers in piles

Pallets are a staple in any warehouse, helping you move large shipments around with ease. But you’ll have to choose between plastic pallets and wood pallets. If you’ve been using wood pallets, you might be surprised to learn that plastic pallets outperform wood pallets when it comes to cost-efficiency and package handling. They tend to be lighter, cleaner, more durable and easier to use than wood pallets. Learn why plastic pallets are a crucial investment for your warehouse. Continue reading

How to Know You Are Picking the Right Size Pallet for Your Freight

several stacks colorful beverage bottle crates

Pallets are some of the most important materials in the shipping industry. They’re available in materials like plastic, wood and steel, and they come in an array of different sizes. You can always ask the professionals for help, but it’s up to you to figure out which size pallet makes the most sense for your company. Once you learn what there is to know about pallets and their configurations, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. Continue reading

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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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.

Picking Pallets: Wood v. Plastic

Millions of items, from your favorite snacks to electronic gadgets, made their way to American homes via numerous shipping and distribution channels. The factories which created these goods produce the items and ship them via containers. When businesses ship items in bulk, they either use wood or plastic pallets. But, which one is best? Let’s take a look at both options to help you make that decision.

 

 

Wood Pallets: Pros

 
Using wood pallets carries many advantages during shipping. First, when selecting a pallet type, you need to consider the destination of your shipment. If you plan to ship goods internationally, you cannot expect your pallet to come back. Since plastic pallets are much more expensive, it is better to use wood pallets in this situation.
 
Wooden pallets can also withstand more weight. Experts recommend using wood pallets if you ship items with a weight between 1500 and 3000 lbs.. Since more weight is allowed, you can ship more items thus reducing the shipping costs per item.
 
Furthermore, if a wooden pallet gets damaged, it is much easier to repair than plastic pallets. If a plastic pallet gets damaged, there is no simple way to repair plastic. You just have to take the loss and recycle it. On the other hand, wood pallets are much easier to repair. Tools such as dismantling bars are designed to help remove interior boards for replacement within wooden pallets.

 

 

Wood Pallets: Cons

 
Although wood pallets offer an inexpensive alternative for shipping goods in bulk, there are also drawbacks when using them to ship goods. Since wood is an organic material, it is susceptible to the forces of nature.
 
Since wood is gathered from forests around the world, the wood used in pallets may contain traces of insect larvae, bacteria, and diseases. The larvae can hatch and the resulting insects can make their way into your shipment. As result, if you ship goods overseas, you may need to treat the wood to prevent infestation, which will increase shipping costs. Before deciding on wood pallets, examine shipping regulations of your destination country to see if treatment is necessary.
 
In addition to holding potentially harmful agents, wood can absorb moisture very well. Consequently, wooden pallets could be a breeding ground for mold, which can spread to your goods. Your shipment could get ruined, especially if you ship food products.
 
Another disadvantage to using wood pallets is that the material is rough on shipments. Since wood is a coarse material, it contains splinters that could damage fragile goods. Fasteners, also present, can damage goods as well.

 

 

Plastic Pallets: Pros

 
There are advantages to using plastic pallets, too. Although plastic pallets aren’t easily repairable, they are made from 100% recyclable and reusable material. In some cases, you will be able to use the plastic pallet for another shipment. For example, if you are in the pharmaceutical or dairy industry, you can request your plastic pallet to be returned. Since plastic pallets have a lifespan of 10 years, you could keep reusing these pallets and thereby reduce shipping costs.
 
Since wood is a fragile material, wooden pallets are easily damaged. As a result, you may need to keep reordering wooden pallets for shipment. Even though plastic pallets are more expensive, their reusability could help you save in the long run.
 
Also, unlike wood, plastic is not an organic material. Because of this, plastic pallets are much less likely to harbor harmful bacteria or insects. In addition, these pallets can easily be washed and disinfected of bacterial agents to make goods ready for shipment.

 

 

Plastic Pallets: Cons

 
Although plastic pallets have excellent properties, there are also some disadvantages to using them. One main disadvantage is the high cost of plastic pallets. Since they cost much more than wooden pallets, there is a high initial investment required to purchase one. Also, since plastic pallets can only handle a lighter load, the cost issue is exacerbated.
 
In addition, if a plastic pallet gets damaged, it cannot easily get repaired. It must be recycled. You could potentially lose your investment in a single shipment and not get the benefit of durability.
 
Another disadvantage is the lack of friction. Unlike wood, plastic will have less friction, which might make the pallets harder to handle on certain equipment.

 

 

Conclusion

 
If your business is trying to decide whether or not to use wooden or plastic pallets, then consider the pros and cons of each and consider factors such as your industry, initial investment available, or shipment destination. Examining each of these will help you and your goods arrive at their respective destinations.
 

The 7 Main Plastics

Plastics are everywhere! Anytime you open up a coke bottle or your favorite snack, you are using packaging made from plastic. Even the car you drive contains plastics. Plastic is preferred over many other alternatives because it is sustainable, lightweight, and shatter-proof. These properties make the everyday goods you use cheaper and more versatile. Although all plastics seem to look the same, there are actually 7 main types. Let’s take a look at each of these!

 

PETE

PETE or polyethylene terephthalate is a common plastic used in a variety of applications, including the  food and beverage industry. The material was invented by John Whinfield and James Dickson of Calico Printers in 1941.

In order to remain tasty, soft drinks need to retain their carbonated flavor (or fizz) for as long as possible. Since PETE is impermeable to both gases and moisture, this material is used for all the soft drink bottles.

Besides soft drink bottles, PETE can be found in medicine packaging as well. You might have noticed that many over-the-counter medicines often come in plastic packaging with an aluminum layer underneath. These are blister-packs made of PETE.

Since PETE also has a high melting temperature, it can be used in food trays that need to be heated. In addition to food packaging, other materials, such as clothing and flooring, are also made from PETE in the form of polyester.

 

HDPE

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is used in a variety of applications. It is called “high-density” because the plastic has a high-density to strength ratio. Unlike PETE, HDPE cannot be used to hold soft drinks because it lacks a barrier to prevent gases from escaping. Instead, HDPE is used to create bottles in blow-molded form to hold drinks such as milk and orange juice. The plastic is also used to package foods such as cereals and other snacks. Since HDPE is not susceptible to chemical reactions, items such as soap detergents and bleach are stored in bottles made from HDPE.

 

PVC

If you have gone to construction sites or examined your sprinkler system, you may have seen thick  white piping. This is another form of plastic called Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC. Because of its hardness, PVC is used in numerous applications ranging from plumbing to healthcare.

Its ability to prevent penetration by bacteria and chemical agents make it an ideal and less costly solution for transporting water. Its fire resistance also enables it to be used in electrical cables. Unfortunately, a fire will cause HCl gas to be emitted, making this cable hazard to use in common areas. Other applications include catheters and blood-collection containers in the medical field.

 

LDPE

Low-density polyethylene was created in 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries. Unlike HDPE, its strength is lower and is most commonly seen in thin film form. LDPE is used to make thin plastics including grocery bags, as well as thin containers for keeping bread and fruits. Since it is not as hard as HDPE, LDPE is ideal for packaging that requires high flexibility such as squeeze bottles. This is why bottles for items such as shampoo and lotion are made from LDPE. This plastic is also used in juice and milk cartons to enhance water resistance.

 

PP

First created in 1951 by Philips Petroleum scientists, Polypropylene (PP) is a plastic with a high heat tolerance. Since it has a high melting point, plastic bottles made from this material can hold hot liquids without getting deformed. Its heat and resistance to chemical absorption make it an ideal application for containers used in laboratory equipment. This also makes it ideal for food containers that get put in the dishwasher. The plastic is also known to be tough and shatter-proof which makes it ideal for use in bottle caps. Besides containers for food, PP is also used in materials for carpets and rope.

 

PS

Found in 1839 by Eduard Simon, polystyrene (PS) is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. It has excellent properties such as a low melting point that allows it to be shaped relatively easily. PS exists as tough plastic sheets and foam. As a result, polystyrene enjoys a variety of applications including foam cups, plastic eating utensils, plastic CD cases, and yogurt containers.

Since it is widely used, plastics with PS tend to fill landfills and oceans. It has generated a lot of controversy and some cities have banned its use in certain applications.

 

Others

In addition to the plastics mentioned, other forms of plastics exist, like Nylon and PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate). Nylon is commonly used for clothing while PMMA is a shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

 

Conclusion

Plastics are one of the most widely used materials in the world. They are used in a variety of applications including food and liquid containers, packaging, and clothing. Plastics do indeed make the world go round!

 

Comparing Different Pallet Types: Which One Is Best for You?

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Need to purchase pallets for your new business? Not sure which type to choose? This is a common occurrence for many business owners, and it can be confusing to decide which ones would best suit your needs. For those who are new to pallet types, the following is a guide to which pallet types may be best suited for your transport and business needs.
Types of Pallets
Aluminium/Metal Pallets
Metal pallets are generally made from aluminium and steel, and are used for the transportation of heavy goods, including at-sea storage, air freight, and outdoor long-term storage. Over the years, the use of aluminium pallets has become increasingly popular with many industries. This is because they provide higher-strength properties than other form of pallet types. Catering businesses and restaurants are also using metal pallets because they are  easy to keep sanitary.
Advantages of Metal Pallets

  • Extremely durable.
  • Ideal for chemical and food industries because they’re easily cleaned.
  • Recyclable, time and time again.
  • Don’t cause splinters like wooden pallets do.
  • Mostly free of pests and bugs.
  • Stronger than plastic and wooden pallets.
  • Don’t decay, and they are highly weather-resistant.

Disadvantages of Metal Pallets

  • May cost more in transportation.
  • Heavier compared to other pallets.

Lightweight Plywood Pallets
Plywood pallets are designed for holding light- to medium-weight products. They offer a durable and strong packaging solution for many industries.
Advantages of Plywood Pallets

  • Ideal for layer stacking and rack stocking.
  • Plywood features a clean smooth surface area.
  • Have minimal absorption of moisture.
  • Perfect for transportation and shipping due to their lightweight, strong design.

Disadvantages of Plywood Pallets

  • Tends to be more difficult to store in racking systems.
  • If left outside, can suffer water damage.
  • Moving between warehouses can be limited as many warehouses don’t store these pallet types.

Wooden Pallets
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Available in various designs, wooden pallets are ideal for holding heavier products that require a one-way flow in your warehouse.
Advantages of Wooden Pallets

  • Durable and strong in design.
  • Ideal for rack storing.
  • Reliable load carriers.
  • Tend to be less expensive than metal-based pallet materials.
  • Feature high friction compared to metal and plastic pallets.
  • Easy to construct in a short amount of time.
  • Can be recycled with paper and mulch.
  • Can be easily fixed with recycled materials.
  • Easily resold.
  • Easy to repair, as broken boards can be replaced.

Disadvantages of Wooden Pallets

  • Tend to be more susceptible to protruding nails, splinters, shrinking, and warping, which can lead to continual reordering.
  • If they become wet, they can be very difficult to clean. The wetness can also cause fungi and bacteria to grow.
  • More costly for air freight due to their heavy-weight design

Presswood Pallets
Presswood pallets are constructed with high pressure and high temperature, creating a solid piece from fibers of dried wood.
Advantages of Presswood Pallets

  • Easy to handle.
  • Low moisture content.
  • Can be effectively stacked on top of each other.
  • Easily recyclable.
  • Provide great strength, though lightweight.

Disadvantages of Presswood Pallets

  • Rack storing can be difficult.
  • If left outside they can succumb to water damage.
  • Many warehouses store these pallets, so movement between warehouses tends to be limited.