A pallet management program benefits both your business and the environment. First, by avoiding waste you improve your company's bottom line. Second, less pallet production and wood waste is better for the environment, from slowing deforestation to lessening the stress on landfills and disposal sites.
Begin With the Vendor
Pallets come in two main varieties:
Standard size and construction pallets for a variety of uses.
Specialty pallets created to specifically hold and protect your product.
Regardless of the type of pallet, you will want to source a pallet supplier that works in recycled materials whenever possible. A quality vendor will build or supply pallets made from 100 percent recycled woods, or a combination of recycled and new materials.
Finding a vendor that buys back old pallets will handle the disposal problem. In most cases, these vendors will repair or recycle the pallets so they don't go to waste. This can result in cost savings since the recycled pallets don't contain expensive new materials.
Consider the Weight
You can further lower your operating costs and ecological footprint by choosing the lightest and smallest pallets possible for your product and storage needs. Lightweight pallets require smaller trucks and less fuel to move, while also needing less materials to make. They are also easier to store since they don't take up as much room. Your vendor can help you find the happy medium between weight and product safety.
There's no need to constantly replace your pallets. With proper care, a wooden pallet can serve for many years. These tips can help extend the life of your pallets:
Purchase pallets made with sturdy construction and plenty of nails. A single weak board can cause a pallet to collapse, ruining the pallet and damaging any product on top.
Choose pallets with a beveled edge if you will be carrying product on and off them regularly. This helps prevent edge breakdown.
Make sure that pallet trucks are in good working order and are being used properly to minimize damage.
Stack pallets flat when they are not in use. Do not store them outside or in an area where they are subjected to constant moisture.
Return or sell your pallets back to the pallet vendor if you no longer need them. It's easier for the vendor to recycle them if they are not aged or damaged.
If you expect your pallets to undergo hard use, it may be a better option to invest in plastic pallets from places like All Pallet Inc. These can also be made of recycled materials. Although plastic pallets have a higher upfront cost when compared to wood, they are more durable and more likely to survive heavy use.