Wood and Plastic Pallets
In the United States alone, is estimated 2 Billion shipping pallets are used yearly. The majority of the 48×40 standard pallets (about 95%) are made of wood. The rest are plastic (2%). This is not sustainable for the future. The lumber industry is already at an all-time high. Pallet prices are shooting through the roof. Aside from financial reasons, wood and plastic are simply not sustainable for long-term use. The majority of these used and broken pallets end up in landfills or on the side of the road. This causes more trees to be cut down and more plastic to be produced to meet demand.
Pallets made of wood have long dominated pallet usage, and for good reason. Supply chains find them to be a viable solution since they are relatively inexpensive and strong. The use of plastic pallets in several applications (and their growth is higher than that of wood), as well as niche options like presswood, paper, and metal, is growing at a faster pace than that of wood. There always seems to be a new pallet that raises eyebrows. One company makes pallets from recycled carpet Your supply chain likely hasn’t seen any of those innovative pallets. A growing amount of attention is being paid to agricultural fibers, however.
Hemp Plastic Pallets
Made from industrial hemp fibre, hemp pallets will biodegrade to compost. This will have a massive impact on the environment and sustainability. As well as being cheaper than hardwood pallets. This is far from reality but many companies are taking steps to research and study this. Benefits of Hemp Pallets
- Environmentally safer
- Water and fire-resistant
- No fumigation or heat treatment required
- Food grade compliant
- Splinter and debris free
This hemp is turned into a biodegradable simulated timber, and can be used as an alternative to timber, plastic, polystyrene, and cardboard. In North America, hemp pallets are now being produced as hemp-related restrictions ease.
Other Wooden Pallet alternatives
Environmental impact and efficiency are the two biggest concerns for almost all companies. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could turn your harvest residuals or production scrap into your own pallets, eliminating the need for other resources to make and deliver pallets? Here are some surprising alternatives to pallets you might not have known existed.
Agriculture crops and residuals are becoming more popular pallet materials among entrepreneurs and researchers.
Pallets can be made from banana stems. An Amsterdam-based company, Yellow Pallet, creates production systems for pressing or extruding banana waste into materials that can be assembled into pallets. A banana fiber pallet block has now met EPAL (European Pallet Association) technical standards, according to the company. A ready market for banana pallets exists due to the fact that 21 million pallets of bananas are shipped each year. A production facility is currently being built in Costa Rica by the company.
It is estimated that 70 billion coconuts are produced annually, but less than 15 percent of their husk is reused. Husks are currently used for flooring and brushes. There is still 85 percent of waste material left, however. Therefore, coconut-based pallets are an attractive option. Pallets are formed using a natural binder and molded.
It remains to be seen whether any of these innovative products gain ever reach widespread use in the used pallet market. Customers will have many questions about price, performance, and acceptance. It is defiantly worth looking into and hopefully innovation will continue the future