How to Reduce Your Pallet Costs

In industrial settings, pallets are so ubiquitous that they almost go unnoticed. We walk past them stacked up in warehouses, see them being moved on fork lift trucks, and transported around on flat bed trucks, however there are some staggering facts about pallet usage that cannot be avoided and considerable sums of money are invested in these vital means of transportation.

It is estimated that around 500,000,000 pallets are manufactured, and 2 billion pallets used each year just within the United States. Although purchase costs depend on volume pricing, a cost estimate of $5 per standardized pallet illustrates that capital expenditure on pallet purchasing could easily exceed $2.5billion per year. This is a staggering sum which is why it makes great sense for a company to invest time and effort in reducing their pallet purchasing costs.

We will look at several money saving options to reduce pallet costs in this article

Reconditioned pallets

As most of the pallets circulating in the transport network are made of wood, the ability to recondition damaged pallets and resell them represents real opportunities for transportation companies to save money as well as benefitting the environment by reducing the usage of new timber.

As a damaged pallet represents a safety hazard, it is important that the quality of reconditioned or restored pallets closely matches new pallets, and suppliers of reconditioned pallets go to great lengths to ensure that their pallets meet these build standards and also comply with international shipping regulations such as ISPM15 which prevents the spread of harmful wood-borne diseases to foreign countries.

So, purchasing high quality reconditioned pallets can bring significant cost savings to high volume pallet purchasers, however considerable care must be taken to ensure that the restored pallets do meet the required quality standards and comply with transportation regulations.

Buying plastic pallets

Plastic pallets are generally more durable than traditional wooden pallets, but as they come in various forms varying from lightweight nestable pallets up to heavy duty pallets for the printing industry, as supplied by, they are suitable for a wide range of applications.

A forklift truck in a warehouse

Being durable, the operational live span of a plastic pallet can far exceed that for a wooden variant so although the initial unit cost may be higher, buying plastic pallets could represent significant capital expenditure savings over time.

Again, because of the durability of plastic pallets, there is an opportunity to purchase good quality second user pallets with considerable cost savings. There will be range of suppliers selling used pallets in most countries, but as always, care must be taken to ensure that pallets are not overloaded which is where the use of floor scales as described on this website, will be useful.

Wood waste removal

It is inevitable that a high-volume user of wooden pallets will be faced with significant numbers of damaged and end of life pallets. There is considerable money tied up with these unusable pallets so finding cash positive solutions may prove beneficial to many transportation companies.

As we have already discussed, one way of recouping money would be to sell suitable pallets to a reconditioning company. Even though the unit sales cost is likely to be low, this does recoup some money at the same time as freeing up the storage space and saving disposal costs.

Broken wooden pallets

For those wooden pallets beyond economic repair a money saving option could be to sell these pallets as scrap wood. Even if these irreparably damaged pallets are given away, it will still represent a money saving opportunity by eliminating costs of scrap removal and disposal.


There are billions of pallets circulating through the transportation network. This represents billion-dollar investments so there is considerable room for cost savings through economies of scale, recycling wooden and plastic pallets, and carefully buying second user pallets.

Businesses that rely on pallets for the transportation and storage of goods should be looking at ways to reduce their pallet management costs if all quality and safety standards are adhered to and operational handling is not impaired in any way.

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