Plastic pallets are a good alternative to standard wood pallets as they typically have a much longer lifespan and are more resistant to rot, mold, and the like. Investing in plastic pallets can mean not having to worry about splintered frames or boards and not having items damaged because of soft wood that allowed a pallet to actually topple. When you’re ready to buy plastic pallets, note a few questions to ask so you know you’re getting the right type for your needs.
1. Static load and dynamic capacity
When buying pallets, you want to know the static load versus the dynamic capacity. Static load refers to how much weight a pallet can manage when it’s static, meaning sitting on the ground or a shelf without being moved. However, when you lift a pallet, you need to know its dynamic capacity, or how much weight it can manage when being moved or lifted, as this is usually different than its static load capacity. If you need pallets to sit on a shelf and hold a certain load without the pallet itself ever being lifted, such as for when you will pick individual items off that pallet to fill orders, note its static load capacity. For lifting and moving, always note the dynamic capacity instead.
2. Ask about recycled material
Plastic pallets can typically be made with at least some recycled material. If you’re worried about how using plastic affects the environment because of it winding up in landfills, choose a company and type of pallet that incorporates recycled plastic. You might also note if the pallets you’re choosing can be easily recycled if they are ever damaged or you no longer need them for some reason.
3. Note if you need any antibacterial or other special plastics
Never assume that all plastic is the same, but ask about plastic types if you need something that is antibacterial, food grade, and the like. You also need to note if there are special types of plastics that are required for any international or interstate shipping you might be doing; different countries may have their own requirements for pallets that are holding certain materials, especially food, medicine, and other biological materials, so ask if the plastic would work for those requirements.
4. Consider how well they stack
If you need to stack your pallets and store them, ask how compact they become when stacked. Some plastic pallets are made with a perimeter frame or a bottom that resembles four picture frames rather than runners that go straight across, so they can nest inside one another for stacking. If you’re short on storage space for your pallets, ask about these options.