Wood Pallets vs. Plastic Pallets

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Looking to use pallets in your business? Not sure which ones to use? Pallets are great investments for any business and are an important part of any industry supply chain. Pallets can be made from a variety of materials, including but not limited to wood and plastic. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages for specific business needs. The following is a simple guide that you can use to determine which pallet type is best suited to your industry needs.
Wooden Pallets vs. Plastic Pallets
The two most common pallets that are used in industries these days are the wooden and the plastic pallet.
Advantages of Wooden Pallets

  • Less expensive than plastic pallets.
  • Can be repaired easily by replacing the boards which may be worn or damaged.
  • Easily resold at a later date
  • Can collect pallet materials from recycled materials, making them environmentally friendly.
  • Can be recycled easier than plastic pallets by turning them into paper and mulch.
  • Quickly and easily constructed.
  • Feature higher friction than metal and plastic pallets.

Advantages of Plastic Pallets
There are many different advantages of plastic pallets that you need to consider. These include:

  • No delivery time restrictions, unlike normal timber pallet regulations.
  • 100 percent recyclable and can easily be turned back into new pallets.
  • Feature a 10+ year life span.
  • Highly resistant to different chemicals including alkalis and acids.
  • Safer to handle than wooden pallets, without chipping, splinters, or screw nails.
  • Four way entry provides easy pick up and moving by forklifts.
  • Able to be used in almost any climate conditions.
  • Easily stackable and storable to save space.
  • Can be cleaned with ease using chemical sanitization, steam cleaning, or hot washing to remove any unwanted bacteria.
  • Up to 30 percent lighter than wooden pallets.
  • Reduce shipping costs.

Disadvantages of Wooden Pallets

  • Cost more for air freight.
  • More difficult to clean and, if they become wet, they can encourage fungi and bacteria growth.
  • Can cause problems with warping, protruding nails, shrinking, and splinters for handlers.
  • Continuous reordering raises overall costs. This is because they are made from organic matter which can weaken and warp over time.

Disadvantages of Plastic Pallets

  • If broken, plastic pallets can’t be repaired as simply as wooden pallets. They generally have to be melted and remolded to make a new pallet.
  • Plastic pallets tend to cost more than wooden pallets, making them unsuitable for those who are on tight budgets.

Pallet Buying Tips
When looking to purchase pallets for your industry needs, it’s important to consider everything. The following are some pallet buying tips you can consider to make an informed decision.

  • What is the pallet delivery address?
  • What is the unloading scenario of your pallets: Dock or Ground?
  • What quantity will you be ordering in the pallet size you need?
  • How often do you order your pallets?
  • What pallet type do you require? Recycled or New?
  • Will the pallet be used on racking systems or floor level?
  • What products will be placed on the pallet?
  • Will pallets be double or triple stacked?

Other things to consider include:

  • The length of the pallet size needed.
  • The width of the pallet needed.
  • Entry style required: 4 way or 2 way.
  • Deckboard style: Any style, double wing, single wing, or flush.
  • Pallet style: Block style, stringer style, or both.

Tips to Reusing Pallets
When it comes to reusing a pallet for any industry needs, it’s important to make sure they’re safe for all those who will be working around them. Some of the things to consider and check when reusing pallets include:

  • Checking them for any damage. This can include water damage, cracks, boards coming apart, and more. Any type of damage can cause the integrity of the pallet to be weakened, which can result in problems with weight support.
  • Checking the old pallets for chemical damage. Chemicals can be spilt onto the pallets. This can cause discoloration and leave a harmful residue. Older pallets like these shouldn’t be used, to make sure you and your workers are safe at all times.
  • Make sure they are suitable for the products you will be placing on them. Make sure each pallet features strength enough to support heavy items. This will reduce accidents from occurring.
  • Check the safety label of the pallet to make sure they were certified pallets at some point in time.

When it comes to selecting a pallet, it’s important to get one that is best suited to your warehouse needs and requirements. By considering these advantages and disadvantages, you can make an informed decision that will suit your industry needs.  So, which pallet type did you end up choosing?