Traditionally pallets are all wood based, but a recent trend shows the use of plastic pallets. Slowly but surely companies have started realizing the advantages of using plastic, even though many traditionalists still continue to use wood pallets for shipping. Pallet Sales by Pallet West reports a lot of inquiries for plastic pallets while www.plastic2go.com.au gives a broad choice for plastic pallets. The fact is that each pallet has its own merits and demerits. The decision on a certain pallet is not made based on only the cost factor; various other factors need to be weighed before zeroing on one.
Let us take a look at the merits and demerits of each pallet
Wood has been the favorite of most companies all this while for national and international shipping. The Main benefit is its low cost, reuse, and repair. Drawback is it can easily hold moisture and damage the shipping
1. Inexpensive compared to plastic
2. Can be reused to make furniture
3. Is made from organic resources and hence can be recycled
4. Environment friendly
5. Easy to repair or replace
6. Can sustain more weight than plastic
1. Cannot be cleaned easily as wood tends to retain moisture
2. Prone to mold and fungus
3. Must be stored in a closed-door warehouse as it absorbs moisture
4. Certain country regulations states that it needs to be heat-treated before shipment
5. Not as durable as plastic
6. Is a safety hazard for handlers as it can splinter easily
Plastic pallets cost three times more than wood. This is the main reason for wood being the preferred material among most companies. But leaving aside the cost factor, plastic offers a host of benefits like its handling, durability, resistance to water, resistance to weather, ease of cleaning, etc.
1. Lasts longer, hence more durable and can be cost effective in the long run
2. Need not be heat-treated ass it is not prone to bugs, molds or fungus
3. Reduces the shipping cost due to its low weight
4. Safe to handle as there is no fear of splinters hurting the handlers
5. Weatherproof as it does not absorb moisture
6. Can be easily cleaned at high-pressure
7. Suitable for shipping fragile items
1. Plastic is Costly when compared to wood. Can go up to 3 times the cost of wood.
2. Not suitable for shipping heavy products
3. Not very eco-friendly, as it is inorganic.
4. Cannot be easily repaired, has to be replaced in case of most damages
To conclude, when deciding on which material to go for, consider all the above factors.
Even though plastic is costly compared to wood, it is a better option if a company is being operated on a closed-loop warehouse model, where the pallets are returned back to the supplier and hence can be reused.
Wood pallets will be a good choice if heavy products are loaded as it can withstand the weight. Also, wood pallets can be a reused to make home furnishings, so some of the cost can be recovered by selling old or used pallets. If international shipments are to be made, plastic is a better choice as it can be heat treated as per international regulations.