Pallet Pooling, Supply Chain, Sustainability • min reading time 10

Reusable packaging: pallet pooling and its benefits

Thomas Longeagne published on 15 September 2022

In order to transport your goods to distributors, the use of pallets is almost inevitable. In a rental management system, these same pallets are a good example of reusable, returnable packaging.

Less waste, no storage, more environmentally friendly, more economical - reusable packaging has it all and is becoming increasingly popular with consumer goods manufacturers.

In this article, we discuss reusable packaging and, in particular, pallet pooling.


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I. What is reusable packaging?

II. Reusable packaging - The advantages of pallet pooling


I. What is reusable packaging?

1. Definition

Reusable packaging, or reusables, are a type of packaging that can be returned to the manufacturer for re-use.

Unlike single-use packaging, reusable packaging is cleaned, inspected and repaired, when necessary, before it can be re-used.

By virtue of their often natural or recyclable composition and their operating system, they are, as a result, more environmentally friendly because they reduce waste.

2. The benefits of reusable packaging

As you may already know, reusable packaging is becoming increasingly popular because of its many advantages:

  • It’s environmentally friendly. Reusable packaging is renewable. When it is damaged, it is either repaired or reused. It is not necessary to produce new packaging for each use. As a result, reusable packaging requires less raw materials in manufacture and therefore reduces CO2 emissions. By generating less waste than disposable packaging, you are choosing to preserve the environment.

  • It reduces the cost of storage. In fact, your supplier recovers its packaging after use. This means you don’t have to store it in your warehouses, allowing you to use this space for goods with higher added value.

  • It’s economical. There’s no need to invest in your own stock of packaging, and instead just pay to use it. This solution is less expensive than buying your own single-use disposable packaging. You will also save money on shipping costs (which is included in the deposit). In short, you reduce the unit cost of your packaging, require no storage or destruction costs and have no maintenance costs either. In addition to being good for the planet, you’re choosing a cost effective solution.

As a result, the collection of reusable packaging (and in particular rental pallets) plays a particularly important role for the supply chain.

It avoids:

  • Having to produce new pallets to replace those degrading in warehouses where they end up (also called drop-points)

  • Taking up valuable space in your warehouse

  • Price implications. In fact, having to produce new packaging will increase the net delivery cost of your goods.

3. How to return your reusable packaging

In the industrial sector, it is often very easy to return reusable packaging.

Suppliers provide easy to use applications for their customers and also provide drop-points for them too.

Take for example, LPR - La Palette Rouge.

Its customers request the number of pallets required, LPR delivers these pallets, the customer indicates where they are sending the pallets to using LPR’s proprietary software MyLPR, and LPR recovers its assets.

Should the customer’s final location (usually a retailer) decide to send the filled pallets received on to other points of sale, they will need to inform LPR of these new flows. They can do so very simply via MyLPR Retail, by telephone, email or directly with a direct point of contact from our dedicated service.

It is very important to be able to organise the collection of pallets quickly and effectively, ensuring continuity in the circular economy of the supply chain.
Regional LPR delegates also travel out into the field to help retailers manage the collection of pallets. Together, we work to set up recurring collections at your drop-points.

If you are not sure whether the pallets in your warehouses belong to LPR - La Palette Rouge, just take a look at their colour – if they are red, then they belong to LPR!

Once recovered, our pallets are repaired in order to be reused. LPR-La Palette Rouge has more than 134 service centres across Europe to repair its pallets.

LPR 07-2018 Loaded Truck control

II. Reusable packaging - The advantages of pallet pooling

1. Pallets as reusable packaging

Pallets are a common form of reusable packaging for shipping and storing goods in many industries. They have been used for decades and have proven to be an effective way to keep products safe during transport.

There are different types of pallets: whether wooden, plastic or metal, they have varying weight capabilities and are designed for different uses. For example, a pallet used for food products may be different from that used to transport mechanical parts. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the one best suited to your requirements.

You can save more and reduce your environmental impact by opting for pallet pooling.

Choosing pallet pooling will allow your company to significantly reduce its supply chain costs and increase its sustainability.

2. The advantages of pallet pooling

Reusable pallets are considered returnable packaging for your supply chain as well as in freight transportation. They can easily be returned to be refurbished and used again.

It is an excellent solution to reduce and eliminate waste. But that's not their only benefit…

  • Pallets are mainly made of wood, an easily recyclable material. All LPR-La Palette Rouge wooden pallets are made of PEFC certified wood which ensures sustainable forestry management. When they can no longer be repaired, they are recycled into othe products – including pellets used in heating.

  • The cost of repairing a pallet is half the cost of manufacturing a new pallet. The cost associated with using this reusable packaging is significantly lower than many other options available on the market today.

  • They reduce the amount of materials used in packaging as well as the amount of equipment required to manufacture them. You also reduce carbon emissions and the consumption of wood used in the production of new pallets.

  • Pallets are strong and durable. They do not break easily during transport or storage, even with heavy goods. They are difficult to damage during movement both inside the depot and during use.

  • Finally, this type of packaging requires less user maintenance. It is the pallet rental-management company that takes care of all maintenance-related activities.

In short, pallet pooling is economical and ecological, reducing cost and waste. Above all, it's a great way to ensure you have enough packaging exactly when you need it.

Each link in the supply chain therefore has a role to play, from the person who initially rents the pallets, through to the person who receives them.

3. Other reusable transport packaging

Wooden pallets are not the only type of reusable packaging that exists for transporting goods.

Depending on the goods you need to transport, you have several choices.

Reusable plastic pallets

Often made from recyclable plastic, these pallets are lighter than other packaging and therefore easier to transport and handle.

They are commonly used for:

  • Food packaging

  • Medical supplies

  • Textiles

  • Industrial equipment (notably at automated warehouses)

Reusable corrugated cardboard boxes or crates

Reusable corrugated boxes or crates are the ideal choice for shipping, storing and moving items such as:

  • Books

  • Office supplies

  • Toys etc

They are made of strong corrugated cardboard that can be reused a number of times. You can find reusable corrugated boxes or crates in different sizes and shapes to suit your exact needs.

Additionally, these boxes can be folded flat when not in use and take up less space when returned.

Double-walled cardboard boxe

Double-walled cardboard boxes are made with two layers of corrugated cardboard. The inner layer serves to protect the contents of the box, while the outer layer provides strength and structure. The most common size is 24” x 24” x 24”. Made from recycled paper and cardboard, they are 100% recyclable.

Double-walled cardboard boxes are used for a wide variety of products:

  • Delicate or fragile items: they provide additional protection against bumps and drops that may occur during transport.

  • Items that need to remain dry: they prevent products from becoming wet if they are shipped in rainy or snowy weather.

  • Transport industry products

Plastic trays

Plastic trays (such as those offered by Euro Pool System) are suitable for use in the European fresh produce supply chain. They are lightweight, easy to move and made from high quality plastic that will last for years.

Depending on the type of plastic tray, they can be used for:

  • Food : fresh produce, meat, fish

  • Electronic products

  • Retail products

Finally, all these reusable packaging options have the same advantages as pallets, only their use differs. The cost of reusing this packaging is 10 to 15% lower than that of new packaging for each new use.


Conclusion

Reusable packaging is very popular with manufacturers. They also attract consumers who appreciate the environmental commitments made by brands. Easy to return, ecological and economical, reusable packaging really does have it all.

Everyone has an important role to play in collecting packaging.

To make a collection request for LPR-La Palette Rouge pallets, you can contact us:

Are you ready to switch to pallet pooling?

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Thomas Longeagne

Marketing specialist Europe

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