Unlike wood pallets, plastic pallets are
designed to be dimensionally consistent,
free of sharp edges or protruding fasteners that can damage products, automation, the plant floor or personnel. They
are also free of nails or staples and will
not splinter or break, causing damage to
machines and downtime in your facility.
This ensures a safer product, clean workplace for floor workers and repeatable
performance that keeps your facility functioning efficiently.
Reusable plastic pallet designs also
take into account many recent innovations
in materials. Any food or beverage in-
dustry supply chain logistics team would
be smart to consider how the latest ad-
vances serve their needs. Pallets should
be manufactured with:
• FDA-approved material if in direct con-
tact with food. FDA-approved material has
100 percent virgin content.
• Materials that do not readily absorb
environmental contaminants like odors, bacteria, pesticides, etc.
• Materials that allow for high-tempera-ture washing.
• Custom coloring and branding options
to color code and segregate loads.
• Labels/hot stamping to identify pallets
for lot numbers.
• Materials and design that can increase
edge racking capacity.
• Materials that can work in various
temperatures (ie cold storage).
• Optional X-ray- and metal-detectable material for load inspections.
There are two categories of pallet cleaning today. Since every industry and plant
requires a different level of cleanliness, it’s
smart to look at all the options available and
make a choice based on which best serves
your needs for your supply chain.
Microbiological Cleaning, or Industrial
• High-heat cleaning process where a
minimum temperature of 165° F is sus-
tained and sterile conditions are maintained
in a designated cleanroom.
• After cleaning, pallets are wrapped or
bagged and stored in the cleanroom. The
process is fully documented.
• This process is most effective against a
broad spectrum of impurities.
– Traditional pallet washers: Wash/rinse
– UV or steam cleaning.
• Cleaning process where no minimum
temperature or designated cleanroom is re-
quired. Examples include:
– Spray/power washing: Spot cleaning.
– Manual cleaning: Hand washing.
– Air compressor: To clean dust and debris.
Today there is no current standardized
cleaning process, but retailers, and food,
beverage and pharma CPGs are looking for
more standardization to preserve the integ-
rity supply chain. When planning their clean-
ing processes, companies should ask:
• Do we need full sterilization or non-mi-
• Will cleaning be done in-house or out-sourced?
• How often must your pallets be
• What kind of documentation is
needed? (e.g. date stamping, etc.)
• What are the storage needs and
practices? (e.g. indoor versus outdoor)
Evolving for Long-Term Success
In order to be successful, reusable packaging must evolve as new needs arise. (ie
new SKUs, new retailer requirements, etc.)
Your plastic pallet provider should watch for
trends impacting your business to ensure
they are supporting your goals. As FSMA
continues to be a focal point of change
within the food and beverage industries,
the ability for reusable plastic pallet manufacturers to drive evolution through custom-er-focused innovations is more important
Change in our industry, embracing
methods that encourage sustainability;
environmentally, financially and operationally – is inevitable. The leaders are
the innovators who facilitate that change.
Those are the ones you should seek to
learn how a simple reusable plastic pallet
can make a true impact on the safety of
your supply chain and the sustainability of