Many manufacturers and shippers of commercial goods make use of shipping pallets. These pallets, which can be made of wood, plastic, or metal, can even be used as a unit of measure, with products made available for order by the pallet, and each pallet containing a set number of units. For buyers, sellers, and shippers, there are several key advantages to using pallets for shipments.
The main advantage of shipping pallets is that they make items easier to transport. By combining many smaller items and stacking them on a single pallet, shippers have fewer objects to keep track of. The goods are also protected from damage due to handling. Pallets follow one of several universal sizes and shapes, making them easy to lift and stack using a forklift or pallet jack.
Pallets are also stronger than other shipping containers such as cardboard boxes or plastic wrappers. This allows shippers to stack more and heavier objects on a single pallet without worrying about the pallet breaking. In addition, pallets will keep their contents up and off the ground, keeping products safe from standing water, dirt, and debris. Pallets are also reusable and may be sent back and forth between a manufacturer and a buyer many times before needing to be repaired or recycled.
Despite their strength, pallets are relatively lightweight and take up little space. Shippers and manufacturers can store pallets in tall stacks that take up a minimal amount of floor space in a warehouse. Wooden and plastic pallets are especially light and add little weight to the products being shipped. An empty pallet is light enough for a single worker to carry.
Finally, pallets made from any material are recyclable. While plastic and metal pallets are less likely to sustain major damage, they can be melted down and recast, or sold as scrap material. Wooden pallets will wear down over time. Eventually the wooden slats can be disassembled and used in another construction project, used as firewood, or shredded to be used as mulch or compost.