Environmental damage and climate change caused by human activity are some of the defining issues of our time, and more and more commercial interests are reducing both their carbon footprints and their bad public relations by making their businesses eco-friendly. Commercial warehouses and storage units aren't immune to this trend, and if you own and/or operate a warehouse, you can make a number of upgrades that will make your warehouse more eco-friendly and reduce the amount of energy it consumes.
However, if you are updating your warehouse equipment to try and make your business greener, you should think twice before upgrading your storage and transportation pallets. Many businesses have replaced their traditional timber pallets with plastic pallets, but if you are trying to make your warehousing business more environmentally friendly, sticking with timber is still the best option.
How are traditional timber pallets more environmentally friendly than plastic pallets?
The average timber pallet is cured and treated to prevent fungal growth and mould, but ultimately it is still made of purely organic materials and will biodegrade quickly after it has been disposed of. Plastic pallets, on the other hand, will sit around in landfills for generations before they even start to biodegrade, so timber pallets are the way to go if you want to keep the amount of non-biodegradable waste your warehouse produces low.
Easy to recycle
Once they have reached the ends of their working lives, timber pallets can be easily recycled and pulped. Recycled paper and fibreboard furniture are often made from wood pulp that was once a timber pallet. Plastic pallets can also be recycled once they are no longer usable -- however, plastic recycling takes considerably more energy and resources than timber recycling, and recycled plastic is not as versatile when it comes to potential uses, so many plastic pallets intended for recycling are simply discarded.
Easier to repair
Plastic pallets are made from a single, moulded piece of plastic, and are next-to-impossible to repair if they are cracked or shattered by heavy weights or impacts. Timber pallets are made from numerous individual wood pieces, which are nailed or screwed together.
This allows you to simply remove and replace individual sections of your timber pallets as they become damaged. You can even keep broken pallets around and use their unbroken sections to repair still-serviceable pallets, Repairing rather than replacing your damaged pallets will help to minimise waste and reduces your reliance on newly-made pallets, which take a significant amount of non-renewable energy and materials to produce.
Higher weight capacity
An average timber pallet can carry several times as much weight as a standard plastic pallet. This is useful from both a financial and an environmental standpoint -- stacking many goods onto a few timber pallets will take up far less space than several plastic pallets, each of which can only hold a small number of goods. This will allow you to use space in your transportation trucks and vehicles much more efficiently, keeping transportation costs low and also minimising the amount of emissions created by your vehicle.
To learn more about wooden pallets, consult a resource in your area.