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!