There’s a lot in the news these days about the benefits of plastic pallets. The benefits make sense, but the cost holds some buyers back. Bottom line, are plastic pallets a good investment?
To answer that question truthfully, one would have to say…it depends. It depends on a variety of factors and no two who ask this question have identical situations and needs. Ultimately, it will be decided on how your business prioritizes strength, durability, sanitation and value.
A Quick Comparison
A quick comparison between wood and plastic pallets is a good way to get you started thinking about your own processes and needs.
Wood pallets: Low upfront cost, repaired easily, general purpose, variety of strengths available, fast to customize, open-loop supply chain
Plastic pallets: Extremely durable, splinter proof, easy to clean and sanitize, long-term value, closed-loop supply chain, meet all ISP-15 standards for export
Choosing a Pallet
Choosing a pallet is based on what function(s) you want it to perform, where it will be used, and how much weight you want it to be able to hold. Selecting the proper pallet based on those things will help ensure that the pallets lifespan will not be cut short.
First, would they be used in an open or closed loop? There are plastic pallets available for one-time ship or closed loop systems. Closed-loop is ideal for plastic pallets because they can easily be reused 250 times, compared to six or seven for wood pallets.
Next, determine where and how they will be used, and how much weight will be placed on them. This helps ensure the pallet you select meets the dynamic load capacity (amount lifted by a forklift), the static load capacity (maximum it can hold when placed on a level surface, and the racking load capacity (maximum weight it can hold when racked).
Consult with a Plastic Pallet Pros professional to see what options we have for your specific application and needs.
How to Calculate the ROI on Pallets
Calculating the ROI on a transition from wood to plastic pallets is probably more straightforward than you expect. Answer the following questions to get started.
- How much do you spend each month on non-plastic pallets?
- Do you use pallets that have been repaired?
- How much do you spend on pallet repairs each month?
- What is the value of damaged product due to broken pallets (non-plastic) each month?
- How many hours are lost each month due to a pallet-related work injury?
- What is your monthly cost for expendable non-plastic pallets, from purchasing through receiving?
- Add the above figures together. This is your monthly cost for non-plastic pallets.
- Decide which plastic pallet is best for your application.
- What is the one-time cost for your new, plastic warehouse pallets?
- Divide the cost for the new pallets by the monthly cost for non-plastic pallets.
- The results tell you the number of months for you to get a return on your investment (ROI).
Plastic Pallets—A Good Investment
Advocates for plastic pallets often point first to their durability and strength. They are lightweight compared to 30-70 pounds apiece for wood. This increases cost savings through reduced shipping weight. Their lifespan—up to 10 years and 250 trips, compared with 5-6 trips for wood pallets makes the case for a closed-loop system in particular.
Plastic pallets are also earth-friendly because they are completely recyclable and Plastic Pallet Pros offers a buy-back program. They are easy to sanitize, allow four-way access for forklifts, don’t scuff floors, can be used for displays, and do not splinter. Wood pallets, while biodegradable, are not recyclable and, ultimately, most of them end up in landfills.
Contact us at Plastic Pallet Pros today for more information! We would love to show you how plastic pallets are a good investment for your business and help you get started.