Plastic pallets are becoming more popular with shippers today as they're very durable and lightweight, although wood pallets still offer many benefits you cannot get with plastic. If you own a warehouse or production facility and need to invest in new pallets, note a few tips for choosing between the two materials so you know you opt for the right type for your facility.
One drawback with wood pallets is that they have connectors that can come loose, and these can cause damage to your materials. This is especially important to consider if you ship paint cans, plastic bags, or anything that can get snagged or otherwise ruined by loose nails, screws, and the like. In these cases, it might be good to opt for plastic pallets which are made in one piece, with no connectors.
Wood pallets are very easy to recycle and can even be made from recycled wood. Some people use old wood pallets for home projects including shelves, coffee tables, and other furniture. This keeps pallets out of landfills. Plastic pallets can be recycled but this involves heat to melt them down and reuse the plastic; this process is not as eco-friendly as simply taking apart a wood pallet and reusing the pieces. If you're very eco-conscious, wood can be the better option.
Storing plastic pallets may be easier because the legs are actually small cups that fit inside each other. A stack of plastic pallets may then be much smaller than a stack of wood pallets, which all sit on top of one another. If your storage space is limited, plastic may be a better option.
Plastic needs a much higher temperature to burn than wood. If you will be storing pallets in an area that is at high risk for fire, such as when welding equipment is used or in a smelting plant, plastic may be safer than wood. You may also not be allowed to store wood pallets in certain areas of your facility because of fire codes.
Will the pallets be used as displays as well as shipping? Electronics might look better on plastic pallets, whereas clothes and household goods, farm equipment and materials, food and produce, and other such items might look better on wood pallets.
Wood pallets may actually hold more weight than plastic pallets, as the wood may be thicker and stronger than the lightweight plastic used for pallets. Don't assume that plastic is the better choice for heavier items but note the durability and weight restrictions when choosing between wood and plastic pallets.