Innovative Pallet Can Be Transformed into Sports Equipment for Refugees


When people talk about “hitching a ride” in a pallet, it usually seems to be about unwanted wood pests that are making their way around the world, potentially to play havoc with forests in other countries. Brooklyn-based PlayPallets International, Inc., has developed a ride hitching program that has nothing to do with whether or not a pallet has been ISPM 15 certified, however.  Their game is working to make sure that refugees—specifically the 51% of whom are children—are afforded the basic human right of the ability to play.

Understandably, it’s a tough sell to get children’s’ play equipment a spot on a shipping pallet that’s being used to transport things like food, medicine, and water. “So we wondered if play could catch a ride to regions in need without displacing other, more essential cargo,” says Jon Robbins, PlayPallets International Founder. “What if we could integrate sports equipment into a mandatory part of the supply chain?”

After two years of R&D, PlayPallets International was able to accomplish just that with their first patent-pending design: a new type of shipping pallet that can be reassembled into two complete youth-sized hoops complete with rims, nets, and balls when the PlayPallet reaches the refugee camp at the end of its supply chain.

Every part of the PlayPallet has a functional role. The top and bottom of the pallet are sheets of plywood that serve as the backboards, the interior supports are used to help stabilize the basketball pole and backboard, and the frame of the pallet is made of thicker stock that is used to create sturdy poles for the hoops. The additional parts and accessories are stored in a secure center channel.

The real design challenge was to fit everything into the pallet without compromising its ability to transport supplies, so PlayPallets were engineered to the exact size of standard shipping pallets, and built to the similar specs. They can handle as much weight as traditional pallets, and be transported by forklift just as easily.

“The beauty of this project is that it can provide an immediate, vital benefit to those who need it most. There is already a supply chain in place. We need to simply insert ourselves into the existing chain,” says Robbins. “Unfortunately, the refugee crisis won’t be going away anytime soon. But if we can do one small thing to improve their lives and just let kids be kids, then we feel like it’s an endeavor worth pursuing.”

The company is also in the final stages of design for soccer, cricket, table tennis, and Skateboarding models, and is now in the process of taking pre-orders for the basketball model.

The company has already begun catching the eye of philanthropic organizations that work with refugees. “All kids deserve the right to play, and yes, that includes kids in refugee camps,” says Ariadne Getty Foundation founder Ariadne Getty. “Super cool invention and a smart solution to a very major problem.”

To learn more, please contact Jon Robbins at 213.440.4884 or email,, or visit the website at PlayPallets International, Inc. is a Brooklyn-based B Corporation that is focused on helping children get the opportunities to play sports, no matter their socioeconomic situation.

Source: PlayPallets International