Plastic pallets are available in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and even shapes. They can be used for everything from transporting goods across the Atlantic to safely storing old files in a warehouse. However, not all plastic pallets are created equally. When it comes to choosing the pallet that best meets your needs, you will need to keep a few characteristics in mind.
Exploring The Various Types of Plastic Pallets
There are countless types of plastic pallets. Below, we have gathered together a few of the most popular versions.
- Stackable pallets are a popular type of plastic pallet. They have a bottom support that is able to neatly stack on top of another loaded pallet. Due to the intricate stacking mechanisms, these plastic pallets can be stacked during transport and storage periods. Other characteristics include: runners, perimeter frames, and picture frame bottoms.
- A rackable pallet is designed to hold a certain amount of weight in an open span racking system. The open span rack features a front bar and a back bar, without anything in between.
- Export pallets are popular options for individuals or companies whom are interested in safely shipping items across the ocean. Choosing the ideal plastic export pallet will depend entirely on what you are shipping. When it comes to meeting overseas shipping regulations, plastic pallets also provide several advantages over wood pallets. One of the advantages is that plastic pallets do not require heat treating. Plastic pallets also don’t require time limiting stamping.
- As the name implies, custom pallets are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and even colors. Custom plastic pallets offer the convenience of choosing a size and shape that perfectly meets your shipping needs.
Environmental Benefits of Using Plastic Pallets
Now that you have a good understanding about the various types of plastic pallets, let’s explore a few of the environmental benefits that are associated with this top storage and transportation tool.
Environmental Benefits Include:
- Plastic pallets are clean and easy to handle.
- They can easily be cleaned after use to better protect the people handling your products.
- They are impervious to fats, solvents, odors, and fats.
- Forklifts and pallet jacks can easily handle lifting, moving, and storing plastic pallets.
- Plastic pallets do not absorb water and are not prone to growing bacteria.
- Mold and mildew do not grow on plastic pallets.
- Plastic pallets are recyclable.
- They are often constructed from environmentally friendly materials or from 100 percent recycled plastics.
Wood Pallet vs. Plastic Pallet: What is right for you and your business?
When it comes to choosing a shipping or storage pallet, one of the biggest decisions will be to choose between wood or plastic pallets. While wood pallets remain common throughout the United States, there are several reasons that plastic pallets provide superior protection, storage, and transportation features.
To best understand if wood or plastic is best for your shipping and transportation needs, you must first review the answers to the following nine questions.
1. What are the differences between wood pallets and plastic pallets?
- Wood pallets are recyclable, affordable, and can generally hold more weight than plastic. However, wood pallets give off moisture, splinter, contain fasteners that can damage products, and are prone to harboring bugs. Wood pallets also tend to have a shorter shelf-life than plastic pallets, which are durable and last longer.
- Plastic pallets are durable, weather-resistant, free of bugs, and contain no fasteners.
2. What pallet is best for your industry?
- Closed-loop warehouse environments often use plastic pallets. The reason for this is simple — in a closed-loop warehouse environment the pallets will be returned. Automotive, dairy, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries all rely on plastic pallets.
3. What is your current pallet management system?
- One of the greatest differences between wood and plastic pallets is their cost. Before you can choose the appropriate pallet method, you need to first analyze your pallet management system. What is the rate at which your pallets are being returned? Understanding this number, and other factors, can help you to best determine the ideal cost solution.
4. What is the environmental impact?
- Wood pallets are usually made from sustainable natural resources. They can be recycled.
- Plastic pallets have a longer shelf life than wood pallets. They can be recycled and are typically made from environmentally friendly materials. However, even though they are durable plastic pallets can become damaged; when a plastic pallet is damaged it must be melted down to be recycled.
5. Is your product fragile?
- Wood pallets have fasteners that can easily damage fragile items. For example, fasteners can puncture cans or other flimsy metals.
Plastic pallets don’t have fasteners and are designed to protect both durable and fragile products.
6. Will the pallets serve a dual purpose?
- Wood pallets aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing.
- Plastic pallets can be repainted and used for in-store displays, especially in the electronics industry.
7. What are the cost trade offs?
- Weigh the cost trade offs between the actual cost of the pallet, damaged products, disgruntled customers (due to damaged products), and damaged pallets.
8. What are the warehouse fire codes?
- Plastic pallets will burn at a significantly higher temperature than wood. Make sure that you understand the associated fire codes. It is also advised that you purchase UL listed plastic pallets.
9. What are the latest exporting rules?
- Before you can choose wood or plastic pallets you must understand the overseas shipping and exporting rules. Often times your pallets won’t be sent back to you, which makes wood a cheaper choice. However, there are new rules governing the exporting of shipments on wooden pallets, which could increase your costs.
With the answers to the latter questions in mind and your new-found knowledge of plastic pallets, you will be ready to make an informed decision. From shipping goods to creating visually-pleasing in-store displays, plastic pallets are ready to help you meet your storage and transportation needs on a daily basis.
Call Flexcon Today at 908-871-7000 and Let One of Our Experts Show You The Plastic Pallet