Part 3 – Plastic Pallet Materials 
(Virgin vs Recycled Resins)

Plastic Pallet Materials

Welcome back! This is Part 3 of “Why All Plastic Pallets Are Not Created Equal”, where we walk you through the ins and outs of plastic pallets, and arm you with the information you need before you make your next pallet purchase!

Virgin versus Recycled Resins

The vast majority of plastic pallets are made from HDPE (high density polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene), and recycled HDPE and PP. The distinction between virgin resins and recycled resins is immensely important.

When plastic is modified in processing it undergoes heat and pressure. Heat is required to liquefy the plastic to mold it, and pressure is required to form the liquid into an acceptable and consistent shape. The application of heat and pressure puts strain on the molecular structure of the plastic, and the more times this occurs, the weaker the molecular structure becomes.

Virgin resins are typically more durable on the molecular level than recycled resins, and they perform better when put through the correct design and processes.

Which Pallet Material Should You Choose

The main benefit to using recycled resins is that the material is cheaper so the pallet costs less. So, if you are purchasing an expense, a pallet made out of recycled resin is generally the more competitive option.

Pallets made from recycled resins are typically more brittle than their virgin resin counterparts. As a result, most user applications that call for an asset pallet will have a very difficult time achieving a return on investment (ROI) if they purchase a pallet made from recycled material.

Another factor to consider is material consistency. There are only a couple of manufacturers in North America that have been successful at reducing material variability with recycled resins, because this is an extremely difficult task. Most pallets made out of recycled resins will have a material variability that makes them strong today, weak tomorrow or vice-versa.

Common Mistake

A common trap that customers find themselves in is looking at recycled resin pallets as a cheap entry into plastic. This generally proves more expensive in the long run, and we often recommend not turning a wood problem into a plastic problem.

Go to Part 4 in this series. Learn more about Pallet Design!
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