Pros and Cons of Using Wood Pallets
Pros and Cons, and Wooden Pallets Upkeep
When you heard the words “wooden pallets”, you’d imagine the wooden boards used by supply and transportation companies to transport goods to another place via sea routes. Whether if the shipping company uses wood pallet for transporting food and other perishable products, they will most certainly have to use wood pallets.
Like it or not, wooden pallets are one of the main ways to transport your items. Wooden pallets are utilized across every warehouse, delivery trucks, and cargo ships. A lot of times, we’d often associate pallet logistics with wood pallets, which accounts for nearly 50% of the lumber used in a year.
Wood is, without a doubt, the most popular material to use in pallet logistics. However, not everyone agrees that wood is the best material to use for reasons that are their own.
The Advantages of Using Wooden Pallets
There are several benefits of using wood pallets. Here are some of the advantages.
1. Wood pallets are more sustainable than plastic pallets
The next most common pallet material after wood is plastic. As the name suggests, wood pallets are made of wood, and plastic pallets are made of plastic. Oftentimes, it is quite common for people to say that it is better and more prudent to use plastic pallets as they can last longer.
However, what many people seem to forget is that once a plastic pallet is broken and cannot be used, it is harder to up-cycle it.
On the other hand, wooden pallets do not have that kind of problem. Many times, you can up-cycle wood pallets by refurbishing and recycling the same wood pallets for transportation purposes, among others.
Alternatively, people also re-use them for home decors or other home living purposes. It’s pretty common to see people up-cycling wood pallet and using them as bed frames, coffee tables, and even as deconstructed garden walkways. Up-cycling wooden pallet for home-living gives your living space a rustic feel.
2. Wood Pallets are Eco-friendly
Which is true because wood pallets are made out of trees. People may say that cutting down trees does not make it eco-friendly, but rather the opposite. To be fair, there are a lot of companies who have taken measures in reforesting and re-planting the forests they have cut down.
At the same time, if you ever find that you do not have any use for the wooden pallets anymore, you can always recycle it and turn it into newer wood pallets. Alternatively, you can sell it off to companies who are willing to recycle the wood pallets and turn it into reusable wood pallets. A lot of times, these wood pallets are taken apart and “refurbished” with newer wood materials to make it new again.
Wood pallets tend to be versatile in a sense that when it’s damaged, it can be “repaired” with a bit of refurbishment. By using recyclable and eco-friendly materials also translate into the fact that worn and damaged pallets can be rebuilt as new pallets with a bit of restoration. What more, most of the agricultural businesses rely on recycled wood pallets to reliably transport goods and cut costs.
Worst case scenario is that when it becomes entirely unusable (due to complete wood pallet destruction), it can be put in landfills for easy decomposition. Last we check, wood pallet only accounts for 5% to 6% of UK’s mass landfills.
3. Affordable and Economical
Anything made from wood has traditionally and stereotypically been considered as affordable and economical. And for very good and solid reasons too. Wooden pallets are also characteristically less expensive to acquire than pallets made from other materials (for example plastic pallets, corrugated pallets, etc).
Think about it this way: if a plastic pallet breaks in 1 place, then you will have to replace the entire pallet. The end result is that the cost for that pallet is considered a “non-recoverable loss” eating away at profits. Unlike wooden pallets that can be repaired and recycled.
On top of that, wooden pallets are affordable and easy to fix too. It has the distinct benefit of being put together and assembled piece by piece. If a wooden pallet breaks, it can be conveniently and cheaply restored and replaced if necessary. This depends on how badly damaged the wooden pallet is.
Furthermore, when it comes to constructing wooden pallets, the construction time has been reduced for pretty obvious reasons. That means you can pretty much acquire wooden pallets pretty quickly in a large quantity. This factor is especially important for importers such as agricultural businesses.
4. Durability and Utility
Contrary to popular belief, wood is more durable than plastic. It’s said that wood pallets wear better over time, is easier to work with, and building wood pallets needs less energy to make.
At the same time, wood provides easy friction, which is a unique advantage to wooden pallets that plastic pallets are unable to offer.
If you were to load your goods into shipping containers and moving heavy freight, wooden pallets move a lot less than plastic pallets do. That simply translates into better protection for your freight goods, and less lost products during shipping and transport. Reduced losses, in the end, lead to higher profits and help with boosting your businesses.
Ultimately, it’s a smart decision to opt for wood pallets for your shipping expenditures. It helps reduce costs, carbon emissions, last longer (if protected and used properly), and many organizations still consider it as a better investment in the long term.
It didn’t matter what products you move in bulk – wooden pallets are going to provide you with superior performance, durability, and longevity when compared to plastic pallets. On top of that, wooden pallets are a lot less expensive to buy and can be produced relatively quickly in bulk with a lower energy cost.
The best thing about wooden pallets is that when you buy and use wooden pallets to move freight, you are optimizing your potential profits by reducing costs and helping to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint.
The Disadvantages of using a wood pallet
Despite its array of benefits, there are also disadvantages of using wood pallets. Here are some of the disadvantages of using wooden pallets.
1. It breaks easily
It’s pretty obvious that wood breaks easier than plastic and metal materials, and wooden pallets are no exception to that. The maintenance can get pretty hefty at times and isn’t really worth the money to fix it at times. Sometimes, it may even be cheaper to completely get new ones instead of spending the time, money, and resources to repair existing but broken wood pallets.
2. May become really environmentally unfriendly
This stems from the last point. Imagine if a lot of wooden pallets breaks to the point of impossible repairs. It means that a lot of companies will have to dump it in landfills (and any other ways to dispose of it) and get new ones. Which tends to imply improvidence and waste of resources and money.
3. Exposure and subjected to rot and other natural causes
Usually, when the wood has been cut down and made into wood products like wooden pallets, it has to be fumigation. Fumigation helps kill off any maggots, woodlice, and similar wood pests. If the wood pallet hasn’t been properly fumigated, there’s a good chance that it may be rotted away by wood pests.
At the same time, if you expose wood to natural elements like water, heat, force, etc., it can easily break. Exposure to water means the dampness can weaken and rot away the wooden pallet. If you expose wood to high heat and fire is pretty self-explanatory – wood catches fire easily. The same way when you expose wood pallet to extreme force or weight, it easily splinters.
Remember to take good care of wooden pallets lest it breaks or rots away.
4. Chemically treated wood pallets can be dangerous
There are organically-treated wood pallet, heat-treated pallets, and chemically treated pallets. Pallets that are organically-treated and heat-treated are safe to use and pose little to no health hazards. That’s why people who often look for wooden pallets and up-cycle them for home-use choose those kinds over the chemical treatment wood pallets.
Chemically-treated wood pallets are treated by chemicals that are hazardous to humans when they come into contact with it. Wooden pallets that have been chemically-treated are no exception to that.
Ways To Take Care of Wooden Pallets
Here are some ways to make your wooden pallets last longer. Hopefully, these pointers can help prevent wooden pallets from potential rot and destruction.
1. Keep Wooden Pallets from The Ground
Try to keep your wooden pallet from direct contact of the ground. Bottom pallets resting on the ground (even if it’s on a paved lot) can lead to rotten bottom boards under long-term storage. Putting wood pallets on dunnage lets the bottom pallet to dry between rains and other natural elements. It can help significantly increase pallet life.
2. Ensuring Proper Air Flow
You can store wooden pallets for longer periods of time if the air moves through them to dry it out. Just ensure that even indoor storage in a tight and wet area can lead to the wooden pallet rotting.
3. Rotate the Wooden Pallet Usage
If you have new wooden pallet stocks and a lot of older stocks, then this is what you can do. You can always use the older wooden pallets instead of the new ones first.
4. Move the Wooden Pallets
Let’s say you have wooden pallet stocks that you are not going to use for a while. The best solution for you to deal with the wooden pallets is to move it around periodically. If the wooden pallets are a mountain of 20 high, take off the top 10 wooden pallets and put them on the bottom. The changed positions ensure that you do not place any wooden pallet on an overly-moist environment compared to the others.
With all points above, people can see and consider and see wood pallets as great decisions toward sustainability. Wooden pallets are indeed a clever way of using unwanted resources. You can also restore and recycle wooden pallets easily if you find that your company no longer needs it anymore.
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