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What can you put on pallets?

18 Nov 2013

For heavy, bulky and volume items, transportation on pallets is ideal, whether you’re moving goods domestically or sending them overseas. However, there is some confusion as to what can be put on a pallet and what can’t. Here is a look at the guidelines to help clarify them.

What Can You Put on a Pallet?

plastic pallets

Pallets are suitable for shipping a wide variety of goods — anything from photocopiers to plastic buckets, range cookers to tyres, bricks to sofas, and most things you can imagine in between. Full wooden pallets can carry goods up a maximum weight of 1,000kg. However, for safe and cost-effective transportation it is recommended that goods over 70kg are transported on a pallet. They are also suitable for transporting very fragile items, such as glassware or ceramics, providing they are protected and packed adequately.

What Can’t You Put on a Pallet?

Plastic-Pallet

There are two categories of items which cannot be transported on wooden pallets. They are restricted items and prohibited items. The ultimate destination of the goods will determine whether or not they are legally allowed to be transported, as Europe and the rest of the world have varying requirements.

Restricted items include: alcohol, certain electronic items, aerosols, antiques, precious metals and stones, artwork, perishable items, watches and jewellery, tobacco products, perfumes, cash or bullion, passports, antiques, photographs, large amounts of handicraft goods, tobacco, tea, coffee, large televisions (over 37″), encrypted personal data and hazardous materials.

This list is not exhaustive and anyone wishing to make use of a pallet service to ship goods overseas must consult their pallet provider to clarify exactly what they are allowed to send.

Prohibited items include: livestock or other living creatures, controlled drugs, firearms, explosives, fireworks or ammunition, goods from protected species such as ivory, leopard fur or snakeskin, pornography, radioactive materials, flammable compressed gasses, alcohol, tobacco goods, plants and seeds.

There are also requirements to be met when sending goods such as engines and machinery. Gearboxes, for example, must be drained of all oils and liquids to prevent them leaking during transit. If damage to other people’s items is incurred because lubricants have leaked, the originator will be liable for the damage which has been caused.

If you are in any doubt whatsoever about what goods you can put on a pallet, whether they are wooden or plastic pallets, please consult your pallet provider for more clarification or go to gov.uk.

Packing a Pallet

In order to guarantee the safe delivery of your items, proper pallet packing is essential. General package guidance suggests that smaller items or those that are awkwardly shaped should be securely packed in boxes if possible. The use of bubble wrap or old newspapers is recommended to prevent your goods from shifting around in the box, which should be as full as possible without being too heavy to lift. Heavier or larger items should be placed at the bottom to avoid squashing things underneath them and to ensure stability.

Boxes or individual items should be stacked to no higher than around 1.5 meters. This is to ensure the pallet is stable and to help prevent injury to those packing or unpacking it. After the pallet is loaded, it’s important to make sure that the goods on it don’t move during transit. Items packed on plastic pallets can be susceptible to slippage, because of the material they are manufactured from. Shrink-wrapping is the most effective way to secure and protect goods during the transportation process. Ask your pallet or shipping provider for more details on how to pack your goods safely and securely.

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