Sustainable pallets launched

The Pallet Loop, the construction industry’s first-ever pallet reuse scheme, has been launched in a bid to “transform the way building materials move throughout the construction industry supply chain”.

Timetabled for operational roll out in 2022, The Pallet Loop is a joint venture between Paul and Ryan Lewis (formerly HLC Wood Products) and Scott Group, one of the UK’s leading pallet producers. Centred around the principles of ‘recover, repair and reuse’, The Pallet Loop aims to eliminate avoidable pallet waste in the construction sector by incentivising pallet returns via a deposit-based system.

Paul Lewis, founder of The Pallet Loop, said: “At present, the vast majority of pallets circulating in the sector are designed for single use. The current industry specification for pallets works on the assumption that they will be scrapped or skipped once they reach their final destination. We’re turning this outdated, inefficient and linear practice on its head. In a step-change for the sector, we’ve developed a range of standardised pallets, engineered to last and to be used again and again.”

At the heart of The Pallet Loop is a range of green, 100% FSC Loop pallets, which are 100% stronger than existing designs. Loop pallets will be distributed to building materials manufacturers, which can use them to transport products to builders’ merchants and construction sites nationwide.

Building material manufacturers will pay a deposit per pallet to The Pallet Loop, and as the pallets move through the supply chain, the deposit will pass from manufacturer to merchant to end user.

Once materials reach their final destination, pallets can be stacked and stored ready for collection by The Pallet Loop, which has a dedicated recovery infrastructure in place.

Some high-profile companies in the construction sector – including BAM Construct UK, Bradfords Building Supplies, and Wilmott Dixon – signed a charter, acknowledging that change is required when it comes to pallet consumption, and are committed to a comprehensive evaluation of how The Pallet Loop could be integrated within their business to help cut waste.

Every year around 18 million pallets are manufactured for the UK construction industry, with estimates suggesting less than 10% are currently reused.

Widespread adoption of The Pallet Loop across the construction sector would reduce CO2 emissions by 40%, and reduce timber use by up to 75%, according to estimates.

To create construction industry pallets, an estimated 6,000 acres of forestry are harvested every year, with a further 236,000 acres grown to cater for future demand.

Trials of The Pallet Loop recovery service took place in October across the UK with a number of principal contractors.