As the third part of our “Breaking the Myths of Corrugated Paper Pallets” series, let’s explore sustainability. More and more companies (especially manufacturing companies) are realizing the benefits of adopting sustainable practices, both financially and environmentally. Adopting sustainable packaging and transporting of your goods can greatly add value to your operations strategy, help you grow your company and increase your global competitiveness and supply chain effectiveness.
If you are using pallets to transport goods to your clients or other facilities, you have a great opportunity in front of you to update your sustainability practices. Annually, the United States alone uses nearly two billion pallets - and about 95 percent of those are wooden. They may be the most commonly used, but are wooden pallets the best option for sustainability and sustainable shipping initiatives?
Let's look at some reasons we think corrugated paper pallets are a better option for companies with green initiatives.
The Best Pallets for Reducing Carbon Emissions
As ChangeThePallet.org so perfectly put it:
Pallets = Weight. Weight = Fuel. Fuel = Carbon.
Lightweight corrugated paper pallets can weigh up to 80 percent less than their wooden pallet counterparts. Using paper pallets to ship your goods in trucks or planes can greatly reduce your shipping cost - and the cost of transport on the planet. When your shipment weighs less, your transportation methods require less fuel to get it from point A to point B, and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Can you imagine the impact that shipping companies switching to paper pallets could make in the United States alone - and the billions of pounds of pallets moved every year?
Using the average paper pallet translates to 1800 lbs of savings on a 53 foot trailer and 1440 lbs of savings on a 45 foot export shipping container, compared to to wooden pallets.
For example, IKEA®'s Handling Material No Wood (HM NOW) project made the switch from mostly wooden pallets to almost all paper pallets for inbound and outbound shipments around the world. According to Jerome Jansen, Packaging Requirements & Compliance Specialist at IKEA®.
"This has enabled us to avoid between 50,000 and 100,000 transport movements a year” resulting in a reduction in CO2 emissions by more than 550,000 metric tons since 2012.
You may be thinking, if paper pallets weigh that much less than a pallet made from wood, are they as strong or as durable? Check out our blog Corrugated Paper Pallet Myths: Are They Strong Enough?
The Best Pallets for Recycling
If you are looking for a pallet to help with your recycling or zero waste initiatives, you need to look at what your pallets are made from. Paper is a very easy material to recycle, especially in comparison to wood. In most cases, corrugated paper pallets are 100 percent recyclable because they aren't held together by nails or staples and can be bailed with other paper materials like boxes and edge protectors. As a bonus, paper can also be made completely out of recycled materials; the sustainability goes full circle.
Over a 20 year span, General Motors required all deliveries to its 62 facilities use paper pallets. This aided in establishing GM's zero waste status and self-reporting $2 billion in recycling revenue, according to GreenBiz.
So are corrugated paper pallets the best pallet for green-minded companies? We think so. If you are serious about social responsibility and implementing paper pallets as part of your sustainability efforts but you’re concerned about how they stand up in other areas to wooden pallets, check out our blog Material Comparison: Wood Pallets vs Corrugated Paper Pallets. If you have questions about paper pallets or other sustainability issues, contact our team. We're happy to help!