Plastic Versus Wood Pallets – Pallet Handling Best Practice


Pallets are a crucial part of the contemporary supply chain. It is used for storage, safe transportation, and product displays. Pallets are designed from a variety of materials, but in this post let’s get familiar with the pros and cons of wooden versus plastic pallets. Understanding the difference will help you in making a suitable pallet investment decision. 

Plastic pallets

Plastic pallets are appropriate for industries that need to follow stringent hygienic protocols. Plastic is not porous but easy to wash, clean, and sterilize. However, if you are planning to buy a quality pallet inverter from TopIndustries for stacking then remember, plastic pallets are sleek, less stable, and slippery for stacking. 

Besides, if your loads are more than 1,500 pounds plastic pallets are unsuitable. The pallet is costly and not an economical choice for shipping goods long-distance or overseas. It can be a good option if the shipping is via air freight due to hygiene needs or to countries that prohibit goods imported on wooden pallets. 

Plastic pallets are eco-friendly, but cannot be repaired. For recycling, you need to melt the damaged pallet. It has a longer lifespan and is great for the palletization process. 

Wooden Pallets

Wooden pallets are 10X widely used and 3X less costly than their plastic cousins. They have huge capacities and can hold weights ranging from 1,500 lbs. to 3,000 lbs. You can easily repair and reuse damaged wooden pallets. 

Wood pallets are not great for delicate or sensitive goods. If fasteners are used then products can get damaged. 

Both plastic and wood have the same fire safety ratings. However, plastic burns at high temperatures than wood material. So, manufacturers shopping for pallets need to check their building fire codes.

There are good and bad associated with both pallet materials. Your selection will depend on several factors like industry & product, budget, applicable compliance, and long-term money matters. 

Pallet handling best practices

Tears, sprains, and strains are common workplace injuries, which result in missed time from the job. Not taking care while pallet handling can cause any type of injury. Here is some pallet handling best practices to learn and follow. It will help to avoid lost-time happenings due to strains and sprains. 

  • Store the pallets properly when you don’t use them.
  • Never lean or stack pallets on the sides. It is safe to lay them flat and the pile must never be more than 4 feet.
  • Inspect each wooden pallet for loose nails or missing boards and cracks. If you identify anything repair it and if you feel it is not safe to use after a repair then keep it away or it can accidentally gain access in the work zone.
  • Keep pallets away from emergency exits, doorways, emergency equipment, fire extinguishers, and frequently accessed zones. 
  • While lifting the loaded pallet manually takes help from another team member to lessen injury risk and it even ensures proper weight distribution.
  • Never bang or drop empty pallets.
  • Never stand or walk over empty pallets even if they are designed to carry heavy loads.
  • Always wear a PPE kit to protect your back, hands, and feet.

Observing the best practices at the workplace ensures safety, not for you but even for the members who work with you. TopIndustries is on YouTube, where operators are given instructions about how to carefully use pallet inverters.