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Exploring Plastic Pallet Recycling Instead Of Disposal



It’s fascinating to note that there are more than 350 million plastic pallets being used worldwide, and they have the ability to outlast wooden pallets by almost ten years. However, once these resilient pallets have served their purpose, they frequently end up in the unfortunate destination of the landfill, where they can persist for countless years, exacerbating the pressing issue of plastic waste.

Recycling plastic pallets is not only essential for efficient operations, but also plays a crucial role in protecting the environment and combating this issue. This guide delves into the many advantages of plastic pallet recycling. It highlights how this practice helps to conserve natural resources, create economic opportunities, and reduce our carbon footprint.

Exploring the Advantages of Plastic Pallet Recycling

Plastic pallets have become increasingly popular in supply chains due to their durability and adaptability in comparison to traditional wood alternatives. This article highlights the importance of using pallets to transport goods of various shapes and sizes over long distances, including international shipments. It emphasizes the versatility and efficiency of pallets in handling items such as bottles, kegs, and heavy machinery. It is important to recycle plastic carriers as they wear out in order to maintain a sustainable operation.

Reasons to Recycle Plastic Pallets

There are numerous environmental benefits associated with recycling plastic pallets.  Pallets made from petroleum-based plastics contribute to the depletion of natural resources. By recycling them, the demand for these items is reduced. 

Landfill Waste Reduction: Plastic pallets have a long decomposition time in landfills, lasting for centuries. Recycling plays a crucial role in reducing our long-lasting waste impact.

Reducing Emissions: The production and disposal of plastic contribute to the release of greenhouse gases. Recycling can have a significant impact on reducing these emissions.

Support Green Jobs: Recycling facilities and reprocessors employ skilled workers to process scrap plastic pallets for recycling, contributing to job growth and sustainability.

Feedstock For Manufacturers: Domestic manufacturers rely on plastic regrind as a cost-effective alternative to virgin resin for producing new products.

Energy Savings: Recycling plastic requires less energy compared to manufacturing new resin from scratch.

Exploring the Lifecycle and Recyclability

Although plastic pallets have a lengthy lifespan, they will eventually deteriorate. Fortunately, the majority of pallets are manufactured using HDPE or PP materials, making them easily recyclable. In order to be used by a domestic end user, the materials must first undergo processing to become regrind material. After being ground and cleaned, the material undergoes a transformation into new products or pellets. This cycle relies on a nationwide network of brokers, recyclers, processors, and manufacturers who work together to ensure that these materials can be reintegrated into the production cycle. These companies are effectively collaborating to minimize waste and encourage the efficient use of resources.

Frequently Asked Questions About Recycling Plastic Pallets

Are all plastic pallets recyclable?

Many types of materials can be recycled, especially those that do not contain metal or fiberglass reinforcements. Nevertheless, the pallets utilized by brands such as iGPS, MillerCoors, and USPS include materials that add complexity to the recycling procedure:

– iGPS Pallets: These pallets pose a risk to recycling machinery due to the presence of metal or fiberglass rods, making them unsuitable for recycling.

– USPS Postal Pallets: It is important to note that these pallets are the property of the US Postal Service and should be returned to USPS. Destroying them is against the law, as they are made from recyclable materials.

– MillerCoors Beer Pallets: Designed to handle heavier loads and are reinforced with metal or fiberglass. However, these pallets are not suitable for recycling.

What are the expenses associated with this?

Labor is the primary expense. It is important to sort pallets into similar stacks and securely fasten them to the bottom pallet for shipment. Recyclers typically cover the cost of freight when they collect a full trailer load of plastic pallets for recycling.

Are there any specific preparations required for recycling?

Minimal cleaning is required. It is important to stack the pallets in a consistent manner and group similar ones together, while also making sure to separate any pallets that cannot be recycled. It is important to secure uniform stacks with at least one strap to prevent any shifting of pallets during transit. Unloading a trailer with spilled pallets can be quite demanding and time-consuming.

What Occurs After Recycling?

The plastic pallets are processed at a recycling facility that is equipped with shredders, granulators, and other necessary equipment. The items are carefully prepared, compacted, and purified before being sent along the supply chain for additional processing. The regrind from plastic pallets can be pelletized or used to create new products, like fresh pallets.

Case Study: Plastic Pallet Recycling

Scrap Management has been a leader in the plastic pallet recycling industry, helping companies from different sectors responsibly dispose of their used plastic pallets. Scrap Management has a wide-reaching national network that encompasses consolidation centers, recyclers, pelletizers, and end-users. This network is instrumental in the process of converting damaged and unusable plastic pallets into valuable new products, all proudly made in the United States.

Over the course of the past year, Scrap Management has successfully diverted more than 2 million pounds of plastic pallets from ending up in landfills. This endeavor not only generated numerous green jobs, but also yielded substantial environmental advantages.

The recycling of these pallets has a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions. It helps offset hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to removing tens of thousands of cars from the road for one year.

This article highlights the significant impact of recycling on water conservation. Through the simple act of recycling, an impressive 11.5 million gallons of water were saved, which is equivalent to filling over 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This serves as a powerful reminder of the positive effects that small individual actions can have on our environment.

This recycling process saved around 11.5 million kWh of electricity, which is sufficient to power almost 1,000 American homes for an entire year.

Impact on the Economy and Employment:

The process created a variety of job opportunities, including logistics, transportation, recycling facility operations, and product manufacturing. There are various job opportunities involved in the handling and processing of materials, both directly and indirectly through supporting industries and services.

The recycling initiative has far-reaching impacts on local economies, not only through direct employment but also through various economic activities. These factors contribute to the overall revenue generated, including the sale of recycled materials, employee spending, and the positive impact on the local economy.

In conclusion

Recycling plastic pallets is essential for businesses that heavily rely on these items, as it helps protect the environment and makes practical sense. The process is beneficial in terms of conserving resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saving energy. Embarking on this recycling journey is a great way to contribute to environmental sustainability and promote a circular economy.

Are you looking to recycle your plastic pallets or would you like to receive a quote for your materials? For your convenience, you can easily schedule a pick-up or find detailed information about our services by visit our site.


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