While it cannot be denied that wood still reigns in the pallet industry, the growing popularity of pallets made from plastic is not to be denied.
Wood pallets may still be the most popular, but the plastic pallet market has more than doubled in the last 10 years or so.
Custom plastic pallets have one up on wood in its re-usability factor since the wood will deteriorate over time. Further, wood needs to be repaired at periodic intervals; this is not so with plastic.
Our world is all about going green and saving our environment. We have to save our trees and wood has is becoming scarcer by the year.
In evaluating the application of the two types of pallets rather than just the good or bad of the product, we need to see which one uses the least energy and is more environmentally friendly. In order to do this evaluation, we have to see what type of pallet is reusable in its original form.
To this end, we should not forget that wood is replaceable just as resource lumber is renewable. Plastic, on the other hand, is made from petroleum, which is not a renewable resource. Wood is totally 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable while plastic isn't.
Despite all of the wood's positives, the plastic pallet continues to gain importance; it is made by injection molding, thermoforming, rotational molding, and structural foam and compression molding. A variety of markets – including pharmaceuticals, automotive, grocery, foods, and beverages – are all making the changeover.
As mentioned earlier, usability is the major reason so many companies are going with plastic pallets and many manufacturers have capitalized on this by creating new designs specifically for each industry.
There are many low-cost options available on the market now to compare quite favorably with their wood counterparts. Low cost is achieved by the use of resin that has been recycled and scraps regrind.