Economical today, expensive tomorrow: the right plastic pallets

In our previous blog post, we further explained the Resin Identification Codes (RIC) of plastics and their crucial role in creating a sustainable future. When it comes to logistics, storage, and shipping, pallets are an indispensable tool. Traditionally made from wood, an increasing number of businesses are turning to plastic pallets for their durability, longevity, cleanliness and recyclability. However, not all plastic pallets are created equal. Understanding the type of plastic used in their construction is critical for ensuring recyclability.

One category you might want to think twice about is pallets made from plastics bearing the Resin Identification Code (RIC) of 7, often marked with a “7” inside a triangular arrow symbol.

Here's why: At first glance, plastic pallets made from RIC code 7 plastics may appear to be a cost-effective option for your business. Their initial purchase price can be quite tempting, especially for organizations looking to cut immediate costs. However, it's crucial to look beyond the initial savings and consider the long-term implications. While these pallets might be cheaper upfront, they often come with hidden costs, particularly when it comes to recycling. Many recycling facilities are ill-equipped to handle RIC code 7 plastics, leading to potential disposal fees or even regulatory penalties down the line. What might seem like a bargain today could end up being a costly mistake in the future, impacting both your bottom line and your environmental footprint.

What Does RIC Code 7 Mean?

The Resin Identification Code system, originally created to help with recycling, categorizes plastics into seven different types based on their material composition. While codes 1 through 6 correspond to specific, well-defined types of plastic, code 7 serves as a catch-all category for "other" plastics. These could be materials that don't fit into the other categories or are composed of multiple types of resin.

Why Should You Be Concerned?

  1. Lack of Transparency
    Since code 7 is a catch-all category, it doesn't provide much information about what the plastic actually contains. This lack of transparency can be problematic for companies that require certain safety or hygiene standards, as some code 7 plastics could potentially contain harmful additives or chemicals.
  2. Limited Recyclability
    One of the significant drawbacks of RIC code 7 plastics is that they are often non-recyclable or hard to recycle. In many jurisdictions, recycling facilities are not equipped to handle these "other" plastics. Thus, these pallets could end up in landfills at the end of their lifecycle, contributing to environmental degradation.
  3. Cost Factor
    The recycling challenge often associated with RIC 7 plastics could also mean potential future costs for your business. With the growing push towards sustainability and recycling, opting for non-recyclable pallets could incur future disposal fees or even regulatory penalties.

What Are the Alternatives?

If you're concerned about the potential issues associated with RIC 7 plastic pallets, consider pallets made from plastics with other RIC codes like PET (1) or HDPE (2). These materials are not only widely recycled but also tend to be strong, durable, and safe for various applications. Many companies specifically manufacture pallets with these more sustainable and transparently composed plastics, making it easier for you to make an informed choice.


While plastic pallets offer a range of advantages over their wooden counterparts, it's essential to know what kind of plastic you're dealing with. Pallets made from RIC code 7 plastics come with a host of concerns, ranging from limited recyclability to potential safety issues. As a conscientious buyer, you should consider these factors and possibly look for alternatives that are not only better for your operations but also for the planet.

When it comes to making an environmentally responsible choice for your material handling needs, Q-Pall offers a reassuring solution. All Q-Pall plastic pallets are exclusively made from plastics bearing the Resin Identification Code (RIC) of 2, also known as High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This material is widely recognized for its high recyclability, ensuring that these pallets can be easily collected, processed, and transformed into new products at the end of their lifecycle. By using RIC code 2 plastics, Q-Pall not only provides durable and reliable pallets but also guarantees the circularity of their products. Choosing Q-Pall means you are opting for a sustainable, long-term solution that minimizes waste and maximizes resource efficiency, aligning your business practices with the principles of the circular economy.

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