Wooden pallets have been the dominant shipping solution since World War II, but that may be about to change. Current trends suggest that traditional shipping methods will soon run up against the limits of sustainability. In time, alternative products like push & pull sheets may become the norm, not the exception.
The Inevitable Demise of Pallets
The problem with pallets is that they consume one of Earth’s most valuable resources: trees. Trees shore up the ground below them with their roots and help recycle some of the carbon dioxide produced by industrialization into breathable oxygen. Without them, we all become much more vulnerable to natural disasters and suffer the effects of poor air quality. Keeping a generous supply of them around at all times is vital to the survival of the human race.
While they are technically a renewable resource, trees have a poor replenishment rate. They can take decades to grow back to full maturity, and in the meantime, they occupy large amounts of land. Land is a hot commodity that will only grow more valuable as the demand for it inevitably increases to accommodate food production and living space for a growing global population (the population of Canada alone is set to rise by 15 million people in the next 50 years). As that happens, the price of wood will inevitably rise. Once it becomes too expensive to mass-produce pallets, shipping companies will have no choice but to adopt some other way of moving products.
Why Are Push Pull Sheets a Better Choice?
If we have to leave pallets in the past, push pull sheets are one of the best possible replacement options available right now. Push Pull sheets still often require the sacrifice of some trees due to their cardboard components, but their extremely compact size means that you can get many more push pull sheets from a single tree’s worth of lumber than you can pallets. Proportionately, their lumber demands are much smaller.
Push pull sheets are also much easier to recycle because they can be turned over to recycling facilities in their existing state – they don’t have any nails in them that need to be removed first. They aren’t meant to be used for long, but as long as the materials used to make them are constantly circulating anyway, they can maintain minimal ecological impact even with their short shelf life.
Whether it’s due to conservation efforts or economic incentives, the way we ship products is sure to change over the coming years. Adopting push pull sheets early might be a smart tactic to get your shipping operations future-ready in the face of this upcoming shift.