Pallets and the role they play in transporting goods throughout the country and the world affect all of our lives directly, and some believe the humble pallet is, in fact, the single most important object in the global economy. Since pallet use is so ubiquitous, many industries and government agencies have offered opinion on their best use, and there is at least one difference of opinion that can be boiled down to: wood or plastic?
Some environmentalists and government agencies, including the USDA, have expressed concern about wood pallets and the ways they are created and treated in order to prevent the spread of pests. Many would prefer that pallet businesses move toward replacing plastic with wood. We at Kamps believe both pallet choices have their best points and uses.
Plastic pallets are best used when it is necessary to maintain dry and bacteria-free conditions. They are waterproof, easy to clean, immune to infestation, and are safe and easy to handle with no threat of nails or splinters. Industries with closed-loop warehouse environments, such as automotive, dairy, beverage, and pharmaceutical, frequently use plastic pallets. Plastic pallets are also lighter weight and smaller and can make a difference in shipping costs.
But wood pallets are an environmental choice as well. Made from the otherwise unusable trims of the lumbering process, they start off as recycled materials, and each part of the pallet can be reused to repair other broken pallets, to make other wood products, or ground up and turned into mulch. Wood is a renewable resource, responsibly grown and harvested today by the lumber industry. A wooden pallet is inexpensive to manufacture, easy to repair, and can be used over and over again to move a vast variety of materials across the state and country. They can hold significantly more weight than plastic pallets as well.
There have been challenges associated with shipping goods and materials since the days of camel caravans, but pallet shipping has made the transportation process more leaner, more standardized, and less susceptible to damage or spoilage. Offering numerous pallet options to businesses allows them to make better choices about the best and safest way transport goods and, in the long run, saves us all money at the store.
Kamps is proud to offer a variety of shipping materials in both wood and plastic. We find ways to work with our customers to offer safe and affordable ways to get their goods to market, no matter the size and complexity. For us, it’s not a question of either/or, but of making the best options available to the companies we serve.
By: Mitchell Kamps