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Pallets: plastic vs timber debate continues

Pallets: plastic vs timber debate continues

The debate between manufactureres of wooden pallets and those who make them from plastic continues to rage, with Jim Hardisty, managing director of, replying strongly to TIMCON's response to his original statement.

Hardisty had said that "UK businesses using wood packaging materials for shipping goods could be putting the health and safety of staff at serious risk and causing untold damage to the UK economy”, prompting Stuart Hex, general secretary of The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) to say: “These irresponsible comments are at best inaccurate; at worst they are deliberately designed to mislead."

Now, Hardisty has said: “This is an excessively aggressive response from TIMCON, which appears to have misconstrued the information presented in my comments on poor pallet hygiene.

“I stand by my original statement and would like to reiterate that the facts remain the same and are accurate. Wooden pallets are inherently more likely to harbour contaminants than plastic ones and as such present a potential health risk to those handling them on a regular basis. It is important to guard against such threats and plastic pallets provide a viable alternative.

“The timber packaging and pallets industry is facing a tough time at the moment, so TIMCON has good reason to be concerned. In the UK, timber is by far experiencing the severest supply shortages out of all raw material inputs and this is pushing up the price of new and used wooden pallets. According to the Pöyry Index, in the last three quarters the cost of UK pallet sawn timber has increased by more than 15% – the highest price rise in Europe.

“Plastic pallets continue to close the cost gap on wooden pallets, so naturally we’re seeing more and more companies switching to plastic pallets as a cost-effective, longer-life and more hygienic solution.”

With neither side seemingly willing to back down, this one looks set to run and run...

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