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How can we make supply chains more sustainable?

As a company that is committed to supporting the development of sustainable supply chains, we are always looking to push the boundaries by adding new products and services that can deliver environmental benefits.

Firstly, we are proud to stock the UK’s largest range of sustainable pallets and pallet boxes, of which 93% are made from 100% recycled materials. Then, in 2019, we launched our pioneering recycling scheme – and to date, we’ve recycled well over 1,500 tonnes of plastic. This scheme is designed to ensure that plastic pallets are recycled at the end of their working life, reducing the need for new resources and contributing to a circular economy.

Creating Scalable Circular Solutions

As part of our commitment in this area, we meticulously choose manufacturing partners who share our ethos of social responsibility, excellence, and forward-thinking. Looking ahead, we’re enthusiastic about the innovative collaborations that await. One avenue we are discussing with our manufacturing partners would be working with businesses to transform their own waste, such as plastic bottles, into durable plastic pallets. This initiative not only underscores our commitment to the circular economy but also offers a direct, impactful way for our clients to contribute to sustainability. This is an area we are really excited to explore further in the near future, as we have to technical resources to make this happen. If you’re interested in discussing this type of collaboration, we’d like to hear from you.

With this topic in mind, we paid special attention to a keynote presentation from Susie Jahren, Chief Circular Officer at AION, at last month’s Supply Chain Exhibition, part of the IntraLogisteX event this March – and we wanted to share some of her key insights with you.

Creating Scalable Circular Solutions

Jahren began her talk by considering how far the concept of recycling is going in the business community. “Five years ago, I was a plastics researcher at a time when everybody wanted to know how to prevent a plastic crisis. Yet only 15% of the world’s plastic has anything done with it at the end of its lifetime. Still, nearly 40 million pounds (lbs) of plastic is thrown away and entering the environment every year.”

Recycling has received a lot of focus, said Jahren, but it is still not working at an industrial scale, even though seven times the amount of CO2 can be saved, and other environmental impacts can be prevented by mechanical recycling.

Governments and global leadership packages are incentivising and implementing regulations, but Jahren argues that these measures are still insufficient to get businesses and people to use plastic more responsibly.

How is AION facilitating more impactful circular value chains?

“We do it by going through the bins – literally.” An AION project for the Norwegian government involved sifting through the bins underneath the parliament building in Oslo. “This is what we do. We go into our customers’ operations, and we hunt. We find out where they’re using plastic and where they could use it more responsibly.”

A case study: the Norwegian Fishing Industry

A key project AION carried out was for the Norwegian fish farming industry. Norway is a massive exporter of salmon. All the fish exported from Norway are fed with fish foods supplied in massive FIBC bags (plastic).

The Norwegian salmon fishing industry alone generates about 3,000 tonnes of this one type of fish food bag every year. The bags are made with one kind of material and end up as waste in one place.

AION was able to highlight this waste and show that it is possible to do something with it. “We set up a recycling value chain with our partners—we don’t do the recycling ourselves; we have reliable partners to do this for us. The fishery bags are now 100% recycled into plastic pellets, which are turned into plastic pallets—the pallets have no other virgin materials in them; they are made 100% from plastic fishery bags.

“We went back to the industry and said, ‘We’ve made a pallet out of your waste.'”

At the time, the industry used single-use wooden pallets, which aren’t the most hygienic and create a lot of timber/lumber waste. The Norwegian seafood industry is now using reusable pallets made from their own waste.

The 5 million single-use wooden pallets that generate 50,000 tonnes of lumber waste every year in the industry have been replaced with plastic pallets, which displace 5,000 tonnes of plastic waste and 2,500 tonnes of CO2. This is a win-win for everybody across the whole value chain, including the businesses making the fish food and the logistics firms transporting the fish.

“This is a marvellous circular story, providing great plastic accountability for reporting and concrete impact data”, said Jahren.

A repeat project and other uses

“We did a repeat of the same kind of project to another company also in Norway, where we took plastic waste and made it into pallets that they now use within their operations.

“For another customer, plastic waste was converted into 3,000 pallets, replacing the single-use pallets they used every year. This gives an overall saving of nearly 90% CO2. And, by not buying single-use wooden pallets repeatedly every year, over the 10-year lifetime of this pallet, they’re going to save a million dollars.”

This kind of recycling and remanufacturing has a real financial and environmental impact and provides an excellent story for social media and annual reports. “It makes sense. It’s operationally superior, environmentally superior, and financially superior”, said Jahren.

“We are not a pallet company. This is just one example relevant for today. We convert plastic waste into other products. For example, we made an asset tracker that goes in a logistic vehicle. It’s got a GPS, a temperature and pressure sensor, and electronics inside it. We custom-designed this case out of marine plastic. What’s great about this is that also with the pallets, when it comes to end-of-life, we take it back and recycle it. Everything that we do is waste-free.”

The McDonalds Story

McDonald’s was one of AION’s very early customers; they wanted an alternative to the single-use virgin trays that they made. AION made them a plastic tray made out of recycled fishing trawler nets.

The trays have been supplied to all Scandinavian McDonald’s and some in other European countries. There’s also a return scheme. Old trays are shredded and turned into new trays. There’s zero waste.


Because the material loop is controlled for life, there is traceability. This is managed using a material tracking machine, a database, and reporting. “This is what our customers come to us for – they want to document environmental impact.” AION provides documentation of recycled content and CO2 reduction, Jahren said. attends the 2024 Sustainable Supply Chain Exhibition

Our team was delighted to be on-site at the NEC in Birmingham and to hear Jahren speak of the benefits of using recycled plastic pallets. She illustrated what can be done in business when you think about waste and adhere to circular principles.

If you have a desire to transform your waste into plastic pallets, then reach out to the team – we’d love the opportunity to learn more about your current situation and to explore a potential partnership that focuses on promoting sustainable business practices.

At, we strive to be the leading, most responsible, and environmentally conscious provider of plastic pallets in the logistics sector. As part of this, we will continue to explore new ideas with our manufacturing partners, including making plastic pallets for businesses from their own waste. If you’d like to contribute to the discussion, always feel free to email your views.

We are leading the way to create responsible supply chains and guarantee to take full responsibility and recycle every product we supply. Contact our expert team today to discuss your plastic pallet needs from an environmentally responsible company.