Why Unipal? Manufacturing News Contact Us  
The worlds #1 rated corrugated cardboard pallet
The Right Choice! UNIPAL is a modular system to manufacture corrugated pallets. The unique construction
consisting of stringers and cross-stringers provides an outstanding beam strength in all directions. UNIPAL
comes with or without a top sheet, depending on your requirements.
Recycled Corrugated Pallets  

Green Pallet Options: An LCA of Corrugated, Plastic and Wood Pallets

May 18th, 2009

Let’s face it, today’s pallet industry is changing. Alternative materials used to manufacture pallets have entered the market offering attractive bottom line benefits, including recyclability, cost and weight savings, safety, cleanliness, durability and adaptability. Amongst metal, wood composites, plastic and corrugated paperboard, plastic and corrugated paperboard arguably hold the most potential to impact the use of wood. To explore our options, we thought we’d take a look at these three pallet materials from a life cycle analysis (LCA) standpoint:

How much energy is consumed in production?
All three materials require an assessment of raw material production, manufacturing, distribution and use, and disposal including all intervening transportation steps necessary or caused by the pallet. This is unique to each pallet. We can say, however, that 1. Corrugated uses renewable, recyclable resources, and is the most recycled packaging material in use today, 2. Wood requires more fuel to transport, generating increased levels of greenhouse emissions, and 3. Plastics consume energy at each level of production from extracting oil and natural gas to converting the raw materials to plastic and shaping it into shipping pallets.

How durable are they?
Durability is determined in relation to how each pallet is produced and handled.

Corrugated: Corrugated pallets have been tested to 45 trips, at which point they can be put back into the cycle for use.
Plastic: Plastic pallets have a higher usage, yet can collapse from plastic creep if used to store heavy loads for long periods. Plastic pallets are not easily repaired.
Wood: Over 50% of all wooden pallets in use today are single use. Splintering and insect infestation requires special repair and disposal.

How much do they weigh?

Corrugated: A 48×40” pallet weighs approximately 12lbs.
Plastic: Plastic pallets on average weigh 50% more than corrugated.
Wood: Wood pallets on average weigh 75% more than corrugated.

What happens at the end of its lifecycle?

Corrugated: Corrugated can be made from 100% recycled cardboard and is 100% recyclable at the end of its lifespan. No other product has this green advantage.
Plastic: Plastic pallets must be returned for recycling and remanufacture.
Wood: Wood pallets can be recycled at an average cost of $2.60 per pallet however landfills are closing to these pallets.

Can they be recycled?

Corrugated: Paper is the most recycled material in the world. Every corrugated board can be recycled or composted. There is no need for a single box to go to landfill. An established global market exists in used corrugated, providing the corrugated retailers with an income stream. A corrugated pallet has value up to $1.20 when recycled.
Plastic: Plastic containers are reusable more than corrugated, but they also require petroleum materials. Plastics enter the waste stream and cause long term problems. Additional costs include washing, sanitizing, backhaul, length of life and recycling or disposal costs. Some plastic manufacturers have added the chemical fire retardant deca-bromine to the petroleum based polymer pallets. According to a lifecycle analysis by Intelligent Global Pooling Systems who purchases its pallets from Schoeller Arca System, its deca-bromine infused plastic pallets contain as much as 3.4 lbs of the chemical. This makes recyclability expensive and time consuming, as the broken pallets must be returned for recycling and remanufacture.
Wood: A wood pallets costs on average $2.60 to recycle. Millions of wood pallets end up in landfills every year.

The bottom line: The UNIPAL Pallet is 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable, is made from 100% renewable resources, offers unlimited point-of-sale possibilities, makes best use of pallet height, is preferred by the consumer, saves fuel by using less space, makes money for the retailer when sold for recycling, is the natural, sustainable choice.

Dry, Partial, or 100% Waxy Green

April 3rd, 2009

It is estimated that the corrugated industry manufactures 1,500,000 tons of wax boxes per year, using 500 million pounds of wax. Of that, close to 1,000,000 tons of wax boxes are disposed of in US landfills. Additionally, fees for non-recyclable landfill waste have increased to an unsustainable $125 per ton.

Paper based packaging is effectively recovered and utilized more than any other packaging material. The national recycling rate of paper and paperboard is currently at 75%. The 2006 recovery of old corrugated containers rose to 25.2 million tons, taking the national OCC recovery rate to 76.4%.

Many paper and paperboard mills have begun extending the types of recovered fiber they can accept. One of the most difficult materials to recover is traditional wax-coated or wax-impregnated corrugated. Residual waxes influence fiber-fiber bonding, reducing the paper properties of recycled OCC, as well as the paper machine operating efficiency. Since there lacks a standardized process to remove the wax coating, wax-coated old corrugated containers are currently not part of the paper recycling stream.

GreenLight’s UNIPAL Pallet uses fully a recyclable, fully repulpable corrugated cardboard that contains a high performance, 100% recyclable wax alternative that repels water while reducing waste throughout the supply chain. Any pallet waste produced in pallet production can be fed back into the system, collected and processed without any wax waste or disposal costs, while also returning greater recycling revenue. The wax alternative used in GreenLight’s 100% recyclable, 100% environmentally green UNIPAL Pallet is approved by the FDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

greenlight_water_resistant26The bottom line:  GreenLight’s UNIPAL Pallet offers superior reliability and performance from an environmentally responsible material that can be produced dry, partial or 100% water resistant.

GreenLight Pallet believes in the power of innovation.

Give us a call for more information.

Jon Girod and Jerry Dick Ramping Up Efforts Outside Portland Facility

March 20th, 2009

Jon and JerryGreenLight’s managing member Jon Girod and sales manager Jerry Dick outside of GreenLight’s new 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility on Marine Drive in Portland.

Corrugated Versus Wood Pallets: The Bottom Line Difference

March 19th, 2009

There’s been a lot of talk lately about corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, many of which include cutting costs, product and packaging waste reduction, environmental sustainability and a push towards greener supply chains. GreenLight’s Twitter this week included a supply chain tip along these lines: replacing material, reducing packaging, eliminating steps, cleaner processes, and of course, improved efficiency.

According to a 2007 survey by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Packaging Digest magazine, 73% of 1,255 respondents involved in packaging stated that their companies were emphasizing sustainable packaging. In doing so, companies aimed to minimize their carbon footprint through initiatives related to transportation, alternative fuels, and packaging. Now, where does the pallet come in?

One of the easiest solutions for greening the supply chain is to choose recyclable, reusable and customizable pallets. More than two billion wooden pallets are used every year in the US alone – the equivalent of approximately one million acres of hardwood forest. Industries shifting to reusable and green non-wood pallets and containers are realizing substantial cost savings benefits, as well as reduced risk of damaged goods in transit, improved safety, reduction in waste disposal fees and elimination of wood-born pests.

palletWe’ve provided below a simple savings scenario in dry freight costs using corrugated versus wood pallets:

A 53 ft high cube trailer can hold approximately 48000 lbs of product and 30 wood pallets weighing 2100 lbs.

The weight difference between a 12 lbs corrugated pallet and a 70 lbs hardwood pallet in a truckload is 1740 lbs.

This 58 lbs per pallet-difference in LTL equates to one free truckload for every 27 truckloads shipped.

The bottom line: An average LTL cost of $.50/lbs, which includes fuel surcharge, creates a savings of $29.00 per pallet shipped.    Now that’s quite a difference.


greenLight Pallet Company is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).