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Why are pallets made of wood?

22 Apr 2014

Wood is still the most common material used to make a pallet and accounts for 46% of all timber used in the USA. Why are so many of them manufactured from wood and what benefits does it offer over other materials?

Cost effective

Wood is a good option for a single use pallet, as it can be manufactured at a low price point. Even though it has a lower cost than plastic, wood can still offer a strong packaging solution.

Environmentally friendly

Timber is a sustainable source, enabling it to be used for years to come. Once a wooden pallet is no longer required or has broken beyond repair, it can be fully recycled, reducing the impact on the environment. A new pallet can also be manufactured from recycled materials, allowing the same timber to be used a number of times.

Easy to maintain

One of the disadvantages of wooden pallets is that they can fairly easily become damaged during transit. However, they are also far easier to fix than plastic ones. A few new nails or sanding down splinters and rough edges can make a wooden pallet appear as new. As it is constructed from individual sections, it is easy to take one out and replace it with a new one if necessary, whereas a plastic pallet would have to be completely changed.

Quick and easy to produce

With a wooden pallet there is no need for an expensive and advanced manufacturing process; in fact, many of them are still made by hand. They are made using a simple process of attaching sections of wood together and can be finished in a matter of minutes. This enables customers to order with short lead times, so they can keep up with demand.

Lightweight

Pallets need to aid the shipping industry by making goods quick and easy to handle and transport. Wooden models are lightweight, enabling them to be lifted easily, either manually or with the aid of lifting equipment. This also makes them more cost effective for shipping, reducing the costs involved.

Sturdy

A wooden pallet might be cheaper to produce and lighter than plastic models, but this doesn’t impact on its sturdiness. This type of pallet is extremely stiff and rigid when compared with the other options. It offers users reliability and durability, which are essential in the global shipping trade.

Space saving

Transporting and storing goods costs money, and this can be reduced by limiting the amount of space that the items take up. A wooden pallet can easily be stacked on top of another one, meaning it will take up less space on ships and in warehouses.

There are many debates over the advantages of wood and plastic when it comes to the pallet industry. However, the benefits of a simple wooden pallet should never be underestimated, and it is still the backbone of the shipping trade.

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