The Great Debate: Should Your Warehouse Utilize Plastic Or Wood Pallets?

When it comes to warehousing products, one of the biggest controlling factors for any company is the budget. However, when you choose an appropriate pallet for your warehouse, you should consider more than just the upfront costs. Indeed, plastic pallets can serve unique purposes that wood cannot cover, even though they are more expensive, but wood pallets can serve admirably and also save you money. No one makes an investment without first delving into the specifics of every option, so if you are trying to decide which pallet is best for your company, it is important to know the benefits of both choices.

What Are The Advantages Of Plastic Pallets?

For starters, plastic pallets are non-porous and non-biological. This means they will not be subjected to rot the way that many wooden pallets might be in the wrong conditions. Plastic pallets will never be damaged by water the way that some wooden pallets might. They also will not give bacteria anywhere to hide when it comes time to sterilize your warehouse.

Speaking of sterilizing your warehouse, plastic pallets are extremely easy to clean: they just need to be hosed down. If you are looking to cut down on bacteria, plastic pallets might be the solution you need. In fact, the FDA recommends their use in certain circumstances, rather than wood because wood pallets contain harmful formaldehyde.

Plastic pallets also last longer than their wood cousins, which means they present an excellent investment for solely domestic warehouses. They can also be hosed down and reused for different purposes over and over again, unlike wood pallets. Plastic pallets can also be recycled entirely to produce new pallets, while wood pallets are only partially recyclable.

If weight is a factor in your warehousing plans, plastic pallets have you covered. Each one weighs less than a wooden alternative, which can save you significantly in transportation fees.

Best of all, plastic pallets can be tagged with special RFID chips, so at any given time you can find out where all of your pallets are located. This especially comes in handy when you are coordinating several warehouses at once, or when you need to follow specific products from one destination to another.

What Do Wood Pallets Offer?

On the other hand, if you are hoping to cut costs in your warehouse, wood pallets are three times less expensive than plastic alternatives. They can also be repaired to extend their life in the event that they are damaged.

Even though they are not as immediately recyclable as plastic pallets, wooden pallets are often made from undesirable lumber that would otherwise be discarded. This means that each pallet is already recycled and still has the potential to be recycled into parts to repair a damaged pallet. Repairing wooden pallets also takes significantly less energy, since plastic pallets must be completely melted down to be re-used.

Due to their low cost and the ease with which they can be repaired, wooden pallets are an ideal choice for warehouses that intend to ship their products overseas. You are unlikely to ever have your own pallets returned after shipping products, so plastic pallets can be an enormous waste of money in such a venture. Wood is also sturdier than plastic and more likely to withstand a long and rough voyage.

It's important to choose the right type of pallet, whether you ship your product overseas or purely domestically. If you want to track your warehouse's goods, or you simply want to be able to easily repair damaged pallets, knowing the ins and outs of both plastic and wooden pallets is crucial to making an informed decision. Do some additional reading on pallet types before ordering the next batch for your warehouse, and you'll be glad you did.