Are Plastic Pallets Recyclable?

stacks of plastic pallets

Many business owners are understandably concerned with their triple bottom line: people, profit, and planet.

With global extreme weather occurrences and UK’s commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, responsible business owners want to know that every part of their supply chain is operating as sustainably as possible.

You may consider the packaging of individual and bulk items, but what about the pallets that these items are loaded, stored, and transported on? Plastic pallets can be a great alternative to wooden pallets, but you may be wondering are plastic pallets recyclable?

Can You Recycle Plastic Pallets?

The good news is that yes, not only are plastic pallets recyclable, but they can be recycled up to ten times without compromising the quality or strength of the product.

Plastic pallets are made of HDPE (high density polyethylene) which is resistant to impact and can face temperatures of up to 120° without being negatively affected.

Unlike wooden pallets, they’re not subject to rot, mould, or bacteria which makes them a smart choice, particularly for use in food and pharmaceutical industries.

With an estimated 30 million tonnes of HDPE being used globally every year, the question are plastic pallets recyclable is increasingly important.

UK legislation governs both the manufacture of plastic pallets in the UK and the lifespan of those plastic pallets. So, you can have confidence that not only are plastic pallets recyclable, but that the return rate of plastic pallets to manufactures for recycling is no lower than 90%.

When you choose recycled plastic pallets rather than using virgin plastic, you’re choosing a cheaper and more energy-efficient product which can last up to ten times longer than wooden pallets and can then be recycled up to ten times as well.

How Are Plastic Pallets Recycled?

HDPE is considered under Plastic Code 2.

There are separate recycling facilities for different types of plastics.

These are governed by UK legislation to ensure that the pallets are recycled responsibly.

In England, it is the Environmental Agency, in Wales the Natural Resource Body, the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Protection Agency in Scotland.

So, you can have confidence that not only are plastic pallets recyclable, but that they are recycled in a compliant and responsible manner.

Once returned to the manufacturer, plastic pallets are shredded and melted down to refine the polymer.

That is then cooled and formed into pellets which can then be used to create new pallets.

At times, virgin HDPE may be added to the polymer mix when forming new recycled pallets, but this is limited to not more than 20% of the recycled pallet.

Can You Recycle Plastic Pallets?

Yes, plastic pallets are recyclable, and they have a robust lifespan with multiple reuses as a pallet followed by multiple recycling lifetimes. A great outcome so that businesses do their part in achieving the sustainable development goals.

Advice on Choosing Recyclable Plastic Pallets for Your Business

If you’re considering plastic pallets for your business, contact ITP Packaging today for friendly and professional advice on choosing the best plastic pallets for your business’s needs.

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