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The Hidden Cost of Wood Pallets

Posted by Sonoco Conitex Team on October 17,2019

While wood pallets might be the standard for a number of industries, there are some companies that are rethinking their approach to packaging. Why? Because wood pallets carry with them a number of hidden costs that can increase the overall price of doing business. Below we’ve detailed some of the hidden costs associated with opting for wood pallets.


Handling Weight and Labor

The typical wood pallet can weigh anywhere between 35 and 50 pounds, which increases temporary labor costs for handling. Additionally, heavier loads increase the likelihood of injury which can result in higher insurance costs, costs for temporary replacements, and increase employee turnover rates.

Freight and Shipping

The up-front costs of standard size wood pallets can be lower than alternatives such as corrugated paper pallets. However, the heavier weight of a wood pallet increases shipping costs and decreases your total shipping capacity, eventually costing much more than a lower-weight alternative.

Worker’s Comp Claims

Wood pallets often contain nails and can splinter or break during use, injuring workers, increasing costs and reducing productivity. Harder to handle than lighter alternatives, wooden pallets are prone to being dropped or falling, which can damage hearing or pose other dangers to your employees. Related to weight, the repeated strain on joints and muscles increases the risk of these types of related injuries and worker’s comp claims.


Wood Pallets cannot be disposed of in landfills and must be taken away by a removal service to be recycled. These removal services can be pricey, and are an easily avoidable expense if you make the switch to a recyclable pallet product.

Product Damage and Protective Packaging

Wood pallets are prone to damage or contamination, and often require protective packaging to protectproducts against rips and tears. This is just another added expense that starts to mount when you calculate all the hidden costs of the wood pallet.

Heat Treatment/Fumigation

Wood pallets must be fumigated or heat-treated before export to kill off any insects or larvae. This is a necessary step to ensure there is no unintentional transport of pests or other invasive species to new areas, international or otherwise. This is a necessary cost that can add up, and could be prevented by choosing an alternative.

Broken Pallet Cleanup

Rough handling and general transportation of wood pallets typically produces wood fragments, splinters, and debris which require cleanup, wracking up labor costs and reducing shipping efficiencies.

Limited Customization

A wood pallet typically comes in a standard size that measures 48 inches by 40 inches. With the range of different packaging options and configurations available, there are many times when the standard size simply won't work. Sometimes this means that a load must be broken down into smaller shipments, increasing costs of pallets used, and price to ship, a costly limitation.

Missed Branding Opportunities and Inefficient Inventory Management

Limited customization can also cost you valuable opportunities to create brand awareness and manage your inventory. If your competitors are using customizable alternatives such as corrugated paper pallets, they could be generating more awareness and enjoying a greater share of the market. This could amount in potential losses that could be hard to measure.

Wood pallets can also make inventory management more difficult, which can impact your projections and ultimately cost you.

Corrugated Pallets: The Proven Alternative to Traditional Wood Pallets


Corrugated paper pallets feature exceptional strength and proven performance for companies who need safe and efficient transport of products both domestically and internationally. At a third of the weight, corrugated pallets are an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional wood pallets. Easily recyclable, hygienic, and splinter and nail-free, it’s the clear winner for your packaging and shipping needs.

Forward-thinking companies searching for an innovative alternative to heavy and expensive wooden pallets need to look no further than Conitex Sonoco. A worldwide leader in the packaging industry, Conitex Sonoco develops solutions that keep businesses moving forward toward their goals. Learn more about Conitex Sonoco, corrugated pallets and their packaging solutions by contacting them today.

How much can paper pallets save you?


Tags: Pallets

Sonoco Conitex Team

Sonoco Conitex Team