Wood remains the most common pallet bin material, but a growing number of shippers are switching to plastic for moving goods. What are the criteria for choosing your pallet crate material? Should you change to a new one? Experts from A.I.M. Sales offer tips for choosing between plastic and wood.
Consider your industry.
If you are working in a closed-loop warehouse facility, plastic might be better for your daily operations. Since they are returned, the automotive, beverage, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries choose plastic bins to maintain costs.
Compare the features.
Wood pallet crates are less costly and can hold more load than plastic. They are also recyclable and can be repaired. However, they are prone to bugs and give off splinter and moisture. Plastic bins, on the other hand, are clean, bug-free, reusable, weather-resistant, and durable. They are also lighter, making them easier to pick up.
Understand warehouse fire codes.
Wood burns at a much lower temperature than plastic. If you are investing in plastic crates, be sure to have a comprehensive understanding of fire codes and purchase units that are UL-certified.
Recognise environmental impact.
Plastic bins have a significantly longer shelf life than wood. They are recyclable, but they cannot be repaired once they are damaged. Wood crates, however, are from a sustainable resource and can be easily repaired.
Educate yourself on new exporting rules.
If you are shipping overseas and will not likely get your storage bins back, use wood instead of plastic. Familiarise yourself with new government regulations on exporting shipments that might affect your operations.
There are pros and cons to using wood or plastic, so think about these factors when making your decision. While more warehouses are switching to plastic pallet bins for their lightweight and longevity, some industries still prefer traditional, economical wood crates.