Circular Economy

How not to dispose of industrial pallets: 5 examples of circular management

Today, pallets make up 2/3 of the wood packaging consumed. Knowing how to handle them in the most innovative, sustainable and creative way is of paramount importance.

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Digital Marketing & Copywriter

How not to dispose of industrial pallets: 5 examples of circular management

Reuse of pallets in the logistics industry

The logistics industry is a booming market and has gone through several revolutions during its history. One of these is palletisation, the system of handling and storing products transported on pallets. This innovation in the way products are transported has become an indispensable link in the logistics chain, as it has made the whole process faster and more efficient.

Today, managing packaging such as pallets, but also pallets and pallets, has become a necessity. The types of waste associated with these products account for 2/3 of the wood packaging consumed. Recycling these products correctly also minimises economic, energy and environmental waste.

In this article, we will tell you about 5 ways not to dispose of industrial pallets, thus reducing economic, energy and environmental waste.

Definition of tertiary packaging

Pallets are considered packaging. More specifically, they are part of tertiary packaging, i.e. designed and manufactured to make it easier to handle and transport goods.

Article 218 of Legislative Decree 152/2016 defines tertiary packaging as follows:

“The product, composed of materials of any nature, intended to contain certain goods, from raw materials to finished products, to protect them, to allow their handling and delivery from the producer to the consumer or user, to ensure their presentation, as well as disposable items used for the same purpose”

According to former Art. 221, c. 1, Legislative Decree 152/06, producers and users are directly responsible for the environmental management of packaging and packaging waste generated by the consumption of their products.

Wooden Pallets and the Circular Economy

Packaging destined for disposal is called packaging waste and includes all packaging or packaging materials which the holder is willing or obliged to discard.

The 3 forms of pallet recovery

Ministerial Decree No. 186 of 5 April 2006, as amended, distinguishes three forms of recovery:

  • Material recovery, whereby recycling processes must ensure that products or raw materials are obtained or SRM with product characteristics in line with technical regulations or even in the forms usually marketed;
  • Energy recovery by combustion, thus initiating waste-to-energy processes through which renewable energy sources can be derived from the destruction of waste;
  • Environmental restoration, represented by all those actions aimed at restoring areas degraded by production processes.

The 5 strategies for circular pallet management

Having reached this point, we realised how important it is to manage this type of waste efficiently.

Now let us see in practice 5 strategies for not disposing of your pallets.

Reuse pallets

As we explained above, pallets are referred to as tertiary packaging. Being part of this special category, their usefulness does not end after their first cycle of use.

A used pallet is not considered packaging waste and can therefore be used again. However, if the pallet is broken or damaged (and therefore unusable), and requires repair work, then the situation is different.

In such cases, precise repair processes must be carried out, which you can discover as you read on.

Repairing Pallets

There has been a strong development in pallet repair over the last decade for two main reasons:

  • The increase in worldwide demand for wood and its derivatives has, from an environmental point of view, accentuated illegal logging, destroying various ecosystems;
  • The need for companies to contain their transport chain costs.

This has led over time to the creation of several companies that have turned the repair of these packages into a real business.

The pallet repair (or remanufacturing) activity consists of a process of sorting and subsequent replacement of broken elements. In this way, packaging that cannot be directly reused recovers the characteristics that make it capable of performing its primary function again.

Precisely for this reason, the activity of repair, in legal terms, is to be understood as preparation for re-use.

Hiring pallets

This cost-saving pallet management practice fully meets the needs of companies to reduce the costs of handling and used raw materials. Renting them also frees users from the problems of storing empty or damaged pallets.

Renting pallets has several advantages:

  • Facilitating the management of returnable pallets with retailers, wholesalers, logistics operators, transporters, etc. ;
  • Avoid high investments for the purchase of new pallets;
  • Provide a certain, surprise-free rental service charge for each pallet delivered;
  • Having a service guaranteed quality.

Using plastic pallets

A very innovative solution is to replace traditional pallets with plastic pallets.

Adopting this type of solution leads to several advantages:

  • It improves handling and organisation, as these pallets weigh half as much as conventional ones and can be stacked and overlapped. This saves time and money;
  • The higher load-bearing capacity makes it much easier to handle the goods placed on the platform and saves money as more goods can be stored and shipped;
  • Increased strength and longevity due to the fact that plastic is more resistant to corrosive agents in all weather conditions. It is estimated that the durability of plastic pallets is about 10 times that of wooden pallets;
  • Reduced risk of accidents in the workplace, because having neither splinters nor nails that could injure personnel, plastic pallets ensure total safety;
  • They encourage plastic recycling, as some models can be defined as eco-friendly because they use plastic from recycling processes.

Pallet upcycling

Speaking of creativity, industrial wooden pallets can be used to furnish the home, the urban/city context, or even in the corporate environment if the company wants to give a touch of creativity to its spaces.

Some creative uses of pallets that we in the Sfridoo team have collected:

  • Creating work tables;
  • Creating refreshment tables;
  • Building small meeting islands;
  • Building benches;
  • Create swings;
  • Building chairs, sofas and TV furniture;
  • Create fences, planters and frames.

Il caso virtuoso dei presspall

Presspall a material, owned by the Corno Pallets, which amalgamated with natural resins, can be used to create new environmentally friendly pallets.

Presspall is composed of 85% hot-pressed recycled chipboard and 15% environmentally friendly urea resin. This natural composition makes this an all-round sustainable solution.

Pallets made of this material comply with the FAO ISPM 15 standard which allows export to all countries in the world.

Among disposable pallets, this solution is the most economical because it takes up 66% less space than euro pallets. It is safer because it has a smooth, nail-free and moisture-resistant surface. More environmentally friendly as the PEFC Certificate guarantees maximum respect for the environment.


Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

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Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Digital Marketing & Copywriter

Article updated on 28/10/2023