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What’s more eco friendly? Recycling Wooden or Plastic pallets

Kaif ul Sehar

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It has been concluded that over the time wooden pallets are more eco friendly in comparison to plastic pallets. Speaking about a debate that took place many years ago, which says that wooden pallets are much more sustainable if you compare it with plastic pallets. They are much more sustainable. This statement was announced only after a detailed comparison was made between both. 

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There are very few people who are open to the problem of Pallet recycling as it happens on a wide level. In the United States, 700 million pallets are recycled every year because of their wide consumption. 

 

The long term performance of both plastic, as well as wooden pallets, was made by assessing their cradle to grave life cycle. More was also looked into treatments used to kill insects and pests in both cases. Both Plastic and Wooden pallets were compared with each other in their entire lifecycle and the effects both of them on the environment. 

In recent research, the environmental impacts were compared with one trip Vs 100,000 trips. 

The impact of both these pallets was compared with the impact they make in the ozone layer, aquatic acidification, global warming, terrestrial ecotoxicity, aquatic eutrophication etc. 

In a recent finding, based on one trip made with a wooden pallet that is made to go through traditional kiln heating along with the radio frequency heat treatment which if compared to the plastic pallets is much lower looking at their entire life cycle. 

The difference between both of them is much more significant if you compare them with the 100,00 trips. 

Heat treatment used for wooden pallets can kill pests and has a carbon footprint of 20 to 30% which is much lower in comparison to the heat treatment that is done with methyl bromide. The gas methyl bromide is an active gas that is responsible for depleting the Earth’s Ozone Layer. 

The plastic stays longer than the wood and that is why a plastic pallet has a longer life cycle if you compare it with the wooden pallet due to its property of not breaking down easily. Plastic Pallets are also known to survive for 200 round trips before they need to be serviced. Plastic Pallets stay for a longer period of time and are obtained from natural gas which can significantly increase the carbon footprint. 

The comprehensive analysis of both plastic, as well as wooden pallets, is what we were looking forward to and that only seconds the studies that were made in the wood and plastic pallet industry. 

Looking at the ongoing climate change and looking at the large number of resources that are consumed to manufacture pallets, the assessment of their carbon footprint is quite crucial. 

Pallet Recycling takes around 40% of the hardwood generated and it is important to know if these wooden pallets are ecologically better in comparison to the plastic pallets. 

Wood is anyway beneficial for the environment especially if we compare it with plastic. The question of plastic pallets being environmentally friendly was out of the question until the industry itself started talking about it. The study is based on questioning their statement and then backing it up with the comparison of their life cycle analysis.

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