Reduce, reuse, recycle — even shipping pallets

Ever see stacks of rickety wooden pallets left to rot behind a distribution facility? Ever buy an appliance or furniture and feel bad about throwing its shipping pallet or container in the garbage? No doubt, shipping often involves significant amounts of disposable packaging. Costs are most significant when the items being transported are particularly large or heavy enough to necessitate skids and pallets.

Now, recycled-aluminum pallets called EcoPACTs — short for pallets, aluminum, containers, and tracking — offer quick-locking assemblies for shipping. The design lasts far longer than traditional wooden pallets, which can only be used two or three times. The 40-lb aluminum pallets are also lighter than plastic or wood or plastic varieties — 50 and 70 lb respectively. The lighter weight reduces shipping costs. The reusable and repairable design is also better for the environment.

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Existing and emerging technologies immediately applicable to product design, as well as industry trends that promise to change engineering.


Elisabeth Eitel

Elisabeth is Senior Editor of Machine Design magazine. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fenn College at Cleveland State University. Over the last decade, Elisabeth has worked as a...
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