Plastic pallets, crates and boxes are being used in some niche markets
in the supply chain. But there are several question marks over the suitability
for purpose of plastic pallets and packaging.
Here is a selection:
In the United States, harmful decabromine has been widely used in plastic pallets and other rigid plastic products to protect against fire. Is it still being used?
Wooden pallets and packaging are
repairable, reusable and recyclable, and are made from a sustainable
resource. What are the environmental effects of manufacturing
pallets and packaging from plastics, which are made from finite
and polluting fossil oil, and are problematic to dispose of?
Part I: If decabromine is no longer being used as a fire retardant in plastic pallets, what is being used in its place? And is it any safer?
Part II: Wood burns slowly and predictably. By contrast, a fire fuelled by plastic burns unpredictably, and as a result is more difficult to fight. If no fire retardant is being used in plastic packaging, isnít this a dangerous fire hazard?
What is the carbon footprint of a plastic pallet or plastic packaging? How does this compare with the negative carbon footprint of a similar product made of wood?
The toxic cadmium has been used as a chemical stabilizer in plastic products but is now being withdrawn due to health and environmental concerns. There is currently a derogation in place, which allows plastic pallets, crates and other packaging to be used until a review in 2013. How many of the pallets and how much of the packaging in circulation still contain this hazardous metal?
Wood is the least expensive material for pallets and packaging. Given the question marks above, why are businesses choosing any other material?