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The Food Shippers of America Blog

Now’s the Time to Consider Your Pallet Strategy

by Conrad Winter, on May 9, 2022 6:25:44 PM

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Pressure for greater sustainability continues to grow. Engineered wood pallets are proof: Wood pallets are getting a second life by being reduced to pulp and molded into single-use pallets.

Unprecedented demand, historically high prices and short supplies have created a pallet market unlike any before, making this the right time for companies to check their pallet strategy.

Renting’s looking better than ever. A pallet contract with one of the big three national rental pools (PECO, CHEP and iGPS) provides certitude. In addition to ensuring supply, renting removes recovery from manufacturers’ to-do list. With today’s high trucking costs and capacity in such high demand, not having to find and transport your pallets home is a big benefit.

Best options for buyers.

Buying wooden pallets is a cost of doing business that’s become a beast lately. Recovering, repairing and redeploying can be a way to squeeze more use out of white wood pallets. Tech is helping companies get their pallets back. RM2 is one company using IoT to help food shippers track their pallets so they can be picked up efficiently.

How about pallet recycling?

Partnering with a repair, recycle and reuse (3R) program is an option where manufacturers can, in effect, hire out pallet upkeep—crucial for avoiding the risk of fines and fees when pallets become worn and don’t meet from retailers’ standards. With a 3R program, manufacturers collect their used pallets and then return them to the 3R company in exchange for a load of recycled pallets. Most 3R companies are local. For manufacturers with faraway customers, Repalletize, a 3R owned by CHEP, has locations across the U.S.

The plastic elephant in the room. Costco has begun requiring plastic pooled pallets. For buyers, that means a significant price jump. For renters, the disruption could be minimal. Pallet rental company, iGPS is already using plastic and PECO AND CHEP plan to have plastic options available.

Retailers demand sustainability. Costco’s pallet initiative is a harbinger of industry-wide sentiments, but plastic isn’t the only solution. Purveyors of wood and plastic make valid arguments for sustainability. Responsible sourcing, lifetime use, repairability and recyclability all come into play. Pressure for greater sustainability continues to grow. Engineered wood pallets are proof: wood pallets are getting a second life by being reduced to pulp and molded into single-use pallets.

The pandemic has reaffirmed that pallets move the world. Now’s the time to check which direction your strategy’s headed.

Learn More About the Author

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This article was originally featured in Edition 1 of 2022 of Food Chain Digest magazine. Download the digital version today!

About FSA

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