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Realising the true value of plastic pallets

The primary purpose of packaging is to protect goods during storage or transit. Here, Jim Hardisty, Managing Director of explains how plastic pallets, pallet boxes, containers, trays, and crates not only provide ultimate protection for goods, but how they are a reliable, reusable, and hygienic packaging solution.

In recent times we have seen considerable growth in demand for plastic pallets from food suppliers and manufacturers. Go back 20 years and there was limited use of plastic pallets in the food industry. Typically, food ingredients would be shipped on wooden pallets and then depalletized onto plastic pallets before entering the production area.

A few suppliers might have used plastic pallets for deliveries, but back then, they were in the minority. However, we are seeing more and more food manufacturers switching from wooden pallets to plastic for manufacturing and distribution, and a big driver behind this has been concerns over product contamination.

Plastic Returnable Transit Packaging (RTP) is more hygienic than wood pallets

Our hygienic plastic pallets and boxes are designed to meet the stringent hygiene requirements of the food industry. These products are made from virgin High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and are moulded to create a product that is completely sealed with smooth surfaces. The smooth surfaces stop dirt, dust, and debris building up and prevent bacteria or mould growing. Plastic pallets can easily be washed and dried repeatedly to maintain hygiene standards.Plastic RTP is reliable and reusable
The longevity of plastic pallets, pallet boxes, containers, crates, and trays is another attractive benefit. Our RTP is robust, reliable, and can be reused time and again for at least 10 years.

To evidence the point, our APB 1210 Super Pool 5R Pallet is being used by a customer to store 2000kgs of dried ingredients in racking. Its supreme strength and reliability give the customer complete peace of mind that none of the pallets will fail in the racking system.

Another customer is using our GoPalletBox 1311S 3R to sort and store potatoes in its fully automated handling system. The box offers a huge 1,400-litre capacity and helps to increase operational efficiency.

Both solutions will work perfectly over the next decade, probably without the need for the pallet or box to be repaired or replaced, ensuring their operations can continue working effectively.

In contrast, wooden pallets are inconsistent. They are not uniform in size and shape, and over time, the wood will naturally shrink, causing nails to lose their grip and slats to become loose. This will cause disruption in operations and could potentially cause injury – or worse!

Plastic RTP eliminates unnecessary packaging waste

More environmentally conscious consumers are starting to move away from goods that are conveniently packaged with single-use plastic. Manufacturers can also switch from packaging that creates unnecessary waste. Wooden and cardboard pallets are often disposed of after just a handful of uses. Plastic stretch wrap used to secure goods is also discarded once items have been unloaded.

However, plastic containers with a ventilated base and sides for example, not only protect goods but allow for additional airflow so that the life of fresh produce can be prolonged, eliminating the need for unnecessary additional packaging.

Plastic RTP is recyclable

Plastic pallets, boxes, and containers have the benefit of being reusable, long-lasting, and hygienic, but they are also fully recyclable. Typically, once a wooden pallet has come to the end of its use it is either sent to landfill or burnt. But we see infinite value in our plastic solutions, which is why we launched our pioneering plastic pallet recycling scheme.

We want to prevent our plastic pallets and boxes from entering waste streams, so we launched our recycling scheme to collect and send our products back to our manufacturing partner who grinds them down and turns them into new recycled plastic pallets. These recycled pallets can be used for distribution, helping to catapult these organisations into a circular economy and making their operations sustainable.

Returnable transit packaging offers food manufacturers a reliable, reusable, hygienic, and sustainable packaging solution that will last for at least 10 years. It helps to reduce unnecessary packaging waste in the supply chain, and over the course of the RTP’s lifespan can provide a healthy return on investment.

To find out more about how can help you find the perfect packaging solution for your business, please get in touch with one of our experts.