Read in this blog our view on the use of the transport pallet and why we think this is also a good topic for companies that develop a policy for corporate social responsibility.
Billions of pallets are in use worldwide. They are used in the storage and transport of products. Most of those pallets are made of wood. About 350 million wooden pallets are recycled every year, but more than 400 million pallets are still made from virgin wood. That quickly requires 100 million trees.
The Plastic pallet is an alternative with advantages and disadvantages compared to the wooden pallet. They do not require repair, are easy to clean, can be nested and generally have a longer lifespan. The disadvantage is, among other things, the energy that is consumed during production.
Paper/cardboard pallets had long seemed an alternative with many benefits, but producer initiatives stumbled because they were too expensive for the market. A Dutch start-up has now developed a pallet made of honeycomb cardboard: lightweight but with a comparable carrying capacity, made from waste, produced by a social company and recyclable after use. Is this circular business model the future?
In order to be able to answer this question, it is important to mention that there are several models within logistics with regard to pallets:
- Traditionally there is the 'disposable pallet', made of wood. The term is somewhat confusing because these pallets are generally reused and can also be part of a circular model. However, the logistics are complicated and are associated with inefficiency and therefore waste.
- Over the years, well-functioning pallet pools/exchange systems have emerged, also for cross-border transport. Particularly within closed chains, good agreements have been made about management and there is not much wastage, partly because pool companies now deliver pallets from depots with the shortest possible distances to the users. A circular revenue model for hundreds of millions of pallets with a lifespan of approximately 10 years.
The cardboard pallet is a pallet that is not yet used within pallet pools/exchange systems. This alternative is a model with a positive impact on the environment and society. Due to the unladen weight of 3.7 kg, not only is the load significantly reduced during transport, but it also provides health and safety benefits only from a technical point of view.
Which model is most suitable depends on what kind of products the pallet is the load carrier for, what kind of chain a company operates in, whether there is national or international transport and what CSR policy objective is being pursued. In any case, it's nice that there are alternatives.