Plastic shipping pallets are becoming an increasingly popular choice for maximising shipping operations. As a hygienic, easy-to-clean and lightweight alternative to wood pallets, they are particularly in demand across the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.
Despite the numerous advantages of plastic pallets, many operations and logistics managers are cautious of the high initial cost – which can be up to three times that of wood pallets. Those in charge of supply chains are well aware that the plastic pallet has a much longer working life than the wooden alternative. However, many are lacking the details to understand how cost effective the purchasing decision will be in the long run.
Lifespan of plastic pallets
For a variety of reasons, plastic pallets have a working life of up to and exceeding 10 times that of wooden pallets. Realistically, this means they are usable for upwards of 10 years. The Global Plastic Pallets market report estimates that plastic pallets are 42 per cent more durable than wood, which along with diminished load weight, reduces overall costs by around 50 per cent.
Why do plastic pallets last so long?
Plastic pallets are 42 per cent more durable than wood which along with reduced load weight reduces overall costs by around 50 per cent.
- Impervious to moisture: Even under the most extreme conditions, plastic pallets are moisture resistant. Unlike their wooden counterparts, they do not absorb fluid, making them immune to warping and enabling them to retain their tactile strength over time. Additionally, pallets made with polyethylene and polypropylene are impervious to a number of commonly occurring alkalis and acids, further reducing the likelihood of exposure damage.
- Safe handling: The most common reason for pallet disposal is risk of injury to workers and products. Older wooden pallets are notorious for splintering and protruding nails, both of which pose hazards to workers handling pallets and also the surrounding products. By contrast, plastic pallets cannot splinter and their heat-moulded smooth edges are designed to prevent damage to people and products they come into contact with.
- Hygienic and cleanable: The smooth and heat-sealed surfaces of plastic pallets make it impossible for bacteria to grow within or on the surface of the pallet. Dust and mold are similarly unable to take hold regardless of how humid or moist the environment in which they are kept. Pallets can also be easily cleaned using steam or other low cost methods, so no matter how high the hygiene standards of the product, plastic pallets can be used repeatedly with no sanitation concerns.
- No shipping regulations: Due to their structural integrity and impervious coating, plastic pallets have no shipping regulations. Unlike wooden pallets which have the potential to carry invasive insect or plant diseases and therefore have to undergo fumigation treatments to pass shipping standards, plastic pallets suffer no such schedule interruptions. This means it is never more time effective to buy new plastic pallets as can be the case with wood pallets on tight shipping schedules.
If you are interested in how long life plastic pallets can reduce your supply chain costs contact the Eco Pallets team today.