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Plastic Pallets - The Rest of the Story


August 3, 2010, 3:00 pm

Manufacturers and distributors of foam and plastic pallets often claim their product is environmentally friendly while criticizing the wood pallet industry.  Plastic and foam pallets may be appropriate for some applications such as airfreight because of their light weight.  However, careful analysis shows that plastic pallets are LESS environmentally friendly than wood pallets.  Consider the following:

 

1.  Plastic pallets are not nearly as easily repaired or recycled as wood pallets.  When compared to other recyclable materials, plastic polymers require much greater processing and energy to be recycled.  For this reason, most plastic products do not end up being recycled.

 

2.  It may surprise you to learn that products made from previously recycled plastics are often not recyclable at all.  This is often the case with plastic pallets.

 

3.  Wood is completely and rapidly biodegradable whereas most plastic and foam is not.

 

4.  Wood is a completely renewable resource while plastic, being petroleum-based, is not.

 

5.  When involved in fires, plastic pallets release toxic fumes as opposed to wood smoke, a naturally occurring phenomenon.

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