Wooden pallets vs plastic pallets

Wooden pallets vs plastic pallets

Wood has long been the material of choice for pallets. Now, plastic is a strong rival and sustainable alternative for many industries and organisations.

If you’re in the market to upgrade your pallets or are simply interested in the differences between them, here’s a useful comparison of wooden and plastic pallets to help you choose the best for your needs.

1. Recyclability

A big advantage of plastic pallets is that they can be fully recycled and reused. When plastic pallets have reached the end of their lifecycle, they can be melted down into pellets and remoulded into new pallets so nothing is going to waste.

Wooden pallets are also a sustainable choice. Wood is a biodegradable material with very little waste. If a pallet becomes damaged, the damaged wood can be replaced, or if the wood is irreplaceable, it can be recycled into wood chippings for other use cases.

2. Cost

Plastic pallets are often more expensive than wooden pallets. This is typically because plastic pallets have almost triple the lifespan of wooden pallets and therefore need to be replaced far less often.

Plastic pallets are significantly lighter than wooden pallets which is ideal for saving money during shipping and transport. Wooden pallets are facing rising timber costs in the UK due to Brexit and other factors which can prove more expensive for your business.

3. Durability

Plastic pallets are lightweight yet durable, meaning they can hold heavy loads while facing very little damage. Exporta’s heaviest-duty plastic pallets can hold a huge static and dynamic loads, in some cases over 7 tonnes.

Wooden pallets are more susceptible to knocks and twists during handling and are affected by changes in temperature and humidity, particularly when used for outside storage. Heavy impact and prolonged pressure on the relatively thin nails that keep timber pallets together can weaken or break the pallet’s structure.

4. Lifespan

Plastic pallets are incredibly durable and can make hundreds of trips before becoming unfit for use. Plastic pallets can withstand up to 10 years of handling, making them a cost-effective and sustainable solution.

Wooden pallets have a typical lifespan of around 3-5 years. Although they are less expensive to purchase, they have to be replaced more often than plastic pallets which leads to a higher cost to your business in the long term. However, if a wooden pallet breaks, it can easily be repaired. Often this wood will come from an existing pallet, reducing the number of new pallets that need to be purchased.

5. Hygiene

Goods leaving the UK on wooden pallets have to meet the EU ISPM15 regulation which requires pallets to be treated to eradicate pests. While ISPM15 standards are designed to reduce the human and environmental health risks of wooden pallets, a major problem with wooden pallets is that they’re hard to clean. This can lead to fungus and bacteria build-up which means they’re unsuitable for use in the food, drink and pharmaceutical industries.

As well as completely avoiding the ISPM15 regulation, plastic pallets can be easily pressure washed or sanitised if any hazardous spillages or contact occurs. This makes plastic pallets a safer and cleaner alternative to wooden pallets, which are porous materials that trap contaminants.
Exporta has the largest range of plastic pallets for sale in the UK

Exporta are experts when it comes to plastic pallets and are proud to stock the largest range of new plastic pallets for sale in the UK. We have a large range of plastic pallets to choose from, including display pallets and distribution pallets in a variety of sizes and load capacities.

98% of all the plastic pallets we sell are made from recycled material. The plastic products we produce are 100% recyclable. We also offer a free collection and recycling scheme for end of life plastic products to all our customers.

Once you’ve explored our plastic pallets, discover more options with our pallet boxes and pallet-related products, including pallet collarsLet us know your requirements and we’ll recommend the plastic pallets that are best suited for the job.




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