Cut the Scrap! Get Rid of Unwanted Pallets and Crating

Looking to get rid of unwanted wood pallets and packaging? Remove scrap pallets or crating material quickly with a little planning

This accumulation of small sized pallets from a foreign supplier was problematic for one U.S. manufacturer to remove from its facility.

This accumulation of small footprint pallets from a foreign supplier has been problematic for one U.S. manufacturer to remove from its facility. What are the options? Read more below.

Some manufacturing plants, warehouses, terminals and retail outlets experience problems with the accumulation of unwanted pallets. Reasons includ:

  • The facility is only waiting for a critical mass to develop before calling in a pallet or wood recycler to take them away.
  • The facility called the recycler six weeks ago, but he hasn’t shown up.
  • The operations manager is trying to postpone the expense of sending them to the landfill.
  • Local landfills have banned wood from the landfill and operators are still searching for options.
  • A trading partner has started sending a particular new pallet that the receiving manager hasn’t figured out what to do with as of yet
  • The local used pallet supplier is no longer interested in hauling your old pallet cores away or is not interested in some of your wood scrap.
PTM's ISPM-15 exempt One Way Pallet was introduced at PACK EXPO 2015

One solution to eliminate problematic wood waste is to request inbound shipment on a readily recyclable plastic or corrugated pallet. Shown above, by way of example, is PTM’s recently introduced One Way Pallet.

For any and all of the situations listed above, there are options available to help you get rid of those unwanted pallets. Options worth your while to explore, include the following:

     Pallet and Packaging Retrieval and Reuse  Talk to the shipper about empty pallet or crate removal, and the potential for a reuse system. Perhaps there is an opportunity for the shipper to have the pallets picked up for refurbishment and reuse. A quality upgrade may be required, as well as a redesign of the unit load to include a reusable sleeve pack or foldable bulk bins solution, for example.  

     Pallet Rental  Again, if distances or other reverse logistics challenges make a packaging return program impractical or a distraction from core activities, discuss with the shipper the possibility of using a pooling approach for pallets or other reusable packaging systems.

     Flow Through  Think about pallet flow-through as an option. Is it possible that your supplier can send goods to you on a pallet that you can reuse to ship your product?

     Value Added “Buy Under Load”  Another option for introducing durable pallets is through a value-added “buy under load” arrangement. This approach can be useful for a company looking to build a fleet of high-quality pallets, with part of that cost absorbed by the inbound shipper as an alternative to the product supplier buying a cheaper pallet or paying for pallet rental. For example, a beverage manufacturer buys durable pallets and then sells them to the distributor under load at a rate discounted (use an example of $7) to cover the initial use by the manufacturer. In this way, the receiving company can help build its inventory of durable pallets at a cheaper cost than absorbing the entire purchase price.

     Dock Sweep  Talk to local pallet recyclers if you haven’t already. If you are accumulating pallets and they are of a marketable size, a local pallet recycler might be willing to take them away, and in some cases, pay you for them. As part of the deal, pallet recyclers increasingly offer additional services such as hauling away unsaleable used pallets, and wood packaging material. They may also be interested in pulling your old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and baled stretch or shrink wrap as part of a dock sweep program. The attraction of doing this with a single provider is that instead of tying up multiple dock doors for different materials, or having to move trailers in and out from the dock, one trailer can be filled with the range of old pallets, OCC and baled plastic.

Some dock sweeps allow for rapid removal from your dock one stack at a time as they develop, making them ideally suited to lean operations while other approaches may require accumulation of truckload quantities. When considerable accumulation is necessary, it is important to pay attention to proper stacking and organization, so that the accumulating material does not get interfere with operations. Take care when stacking broken pallets. Exercise caution to abide by fire regulations regarding stacking patterns, fire breaks, access, etc. In lean facilities, for example, signage can communicate stacking patterns, and lines painted on the floor can signal when to call the recycler for pickup.

     Easy to Recycle Paper or Plastic Pallets  Where reuse or dock sweep prospects are weak, lightweight pallets made of plastic or corrugated paper offer easy-to-recycle solutions. IKEA is the leading example of this approach. The retailer switched to cardboard pallets with an eye to eliminating the storage and reverse logistics challenges associated with wood pallets. Some companies also request the use of lightweight plastic pallets, which they can have readily recycled.

With a little creativity, there are some ways to free your facility or parking lot from unwanted pallets and packaging debris. What’s your approach?