With the Cost of Wood Pallets Rising, Should You be Considering an Alternative?

Wooden and plastic pallets
Wooden and plastic pallets

Pallets make the world go ‘round. Well, not exactly. Pallets do, though, make shipping much easier, and send products around the world. Because pallets are hugely important for shipping, it’s important to make the best choice possible about purchasing them. When you also take into account shipping costs, purchase costs, and replacement rates, among many other factors, finding quality pallets for good prices is crucial. This especially relevant as lumber prices—and by extension, wood pallet prices—continue to rise.

The Problem with Wood Pallets

Lumber costs are undeniably rising. Starting in early 2016, lumber prices were on a consistent upward trend, peaking in May 2018. Though they rapidly declined in the following months, since October 2018, lumber prices have been slowly—but steadily—rising. This has a two-part reason. First, due to recent forest fires, the number of trees available to log has gone down, and forests take decades to fully grow back. Second, in 2017, higher tariffs on imported Canadian lumber were imposed, forcing lumber companies to charge more to make up the difference.

Between these, lumber prices have been on an upward trajectory, and—in spite of the hopeful period in the summer of 2018—they do not look to be stopping any time soon.

Despite this, at first glance, wood pallets may still seem like the most cost-effective option. Ranging roughly between $6 and $25 apiece, each order is cheaper upfront than plastic alternatives, which cost anywhere from $7 to $150 apiece. This seems like convenient saving, especially for smaller companies or shipments.  However, lasting up to 250 trips on average, plastic pallets are far more durable than their wooden counterparts, which usually max out after the sixth or seventh trip. If you are looking for cost-effective long-term shipping solutions, plastic is your best bet.

Wood vs. Plastic Pallets

Plastic and wooden pallets
Plastic and wooden pallets

The advantage of plastic pallets

One of the main advantages of plastic over wooden pallets is their longevity. As mentioned earlier, plastic pallets can be used for up to 250 trips or about 10 years, much longer than their wooden counterparts. Plastic pallets are much easier to reuse – they can be disinfected before and after transporting food. While wooden pallets can only be used once for food or medicine.

If you are shipping items that require clean pallets (such as food or pharmaceuticals), you can easily use soap and water to clean them. You don’t have to worry about adding fees for certain disinfectants unless required by health codes.

Indeed Using plastic pallets can also reduce your shipping costs. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can get the one that best suits your needs. Do not worry about occupying your space. Different pallet styles also have different weights. For short-term or single use, you can purchase lightweight options such as our economy pallets. which can carry heavy loads without adding much to the total weight of the shipment. The lightest ones weigh 7 kg each.



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