Reusable pallets and reverse logistics: what is it and how does it work?

Published on 2019-05-24

Reducing the environmental impact on our planet is an urgent and priority issue of which the industrial sectors in general and the logistics areas of companies have been becoming aware for years.

To contribute to the fulfillment of this objective, it has been necessary to carry out alternative and sustainable solutions capable of transforming waste into valuable resources. In this sense, the plastics industry has been one of the sectors most committed to improving logistics efficiency, protecting the environment. And in this line, REVERSE LOGISTICS acquires great importance, which has been based on two fundamental aspects. On the one hand, in the commitment to recycling systems for plastic containers or packaging. And on the other hand, in the production of reusable and / or repairable equipment, which contributes to favoring strategies based on the circular economy.

 In this way, the sustainability and environmental impact that plastic waste can generate in our environment is enhanced and guaranteed.

But what does reverse logistics consist of, what benefits does it bring and why are more and more companies opting for this solution? Next, the Naeco, previously Nortpalet, team reveals some of its main keys.

What is reverse logistics and how does it work?

If we consider the term from an ecological point of view, the fundamental objective of reverse logistics is to develop a series of processes that allow reducing to a minimum the environmental impact, caused by some business activities that generate a greater impact on our natural environment.

In the case of logistics circuits, once the pallet is empty, it may or may not be returned to the centers to be used again. The process by which the pallets are returned and therefore, the possibility of being used again is generated, is what we know as reverse logistics.

In this case, the most important points in the Reverse Logistics process, that is, when returning empty pallets are:

• Generate the minimum environmental impact: in this case the plastic pallets are lighter than the traditional pallet, which means transporting less weight and therefore reducing CO2 emissions. As is the case of the BASIC 1208-O9 pallet used in many retail circuits compared to the wooden EPAL model, both 1200x800, the plastic one weighs 5.20Kg compared to the 21Kg of the wooden pallet.

• Optimize transport costs: there are plastic models such as the BASIC 1208-O9 or the SMART 1208-O3 that allow transporting up to 2,145 units empty compared to the approximately 528 units that are transported from the traditional pallet. This means fewer trips for companies to return empty pallets, lower transport costs and in turn less CO2 emissions as well.

• Reuse the pallet for as long as possible: for this, companies use marking elements that allow them to identify the plastic pallet they own and have it controlled within their circuit. In addition, it is possible to include labels with barcodes / QR or RFID in these pallets to have the traceability of the same.

• Option to be repaired: options such as repairability make it possible to extend the life of the product considerably and this means great savings in replacement costs for companies. The most frequent breakage points are the skates, in models such as the LOGIC 0806-O3 (800x600) or EXPERT 1208-O3 (1200x800) there is the possibility of buying the skid replacement. In this way, companies save on the purchase of new pallets and reduce the amount of plastic that is no longer suitable for use.

• Possibility of recycling the pallet at the end of its useful life: the plastic pallet is 100% recyclable at the end of its useful life. Therefore, reverse logistics, in addition to promoting sustainability, also guarantees the circular economy.

How do you guarantee the circular economy? because through the recycling of plastic pallets these materials are given a second chance. This translates into reducing a significant amount of final waste to minimize the polluting effects, improve resource efficiency, as well as directly reduce manufacturing and replacement costs, avoiding the use of other resources.

Advantages of applying a reverse logistics strategy on plastic pallets

Betting on a responsible recycling culture and developing measures that increase the sustainability and reuse of plastic elements allows them to extend their useful life. In addition, give a second life to logistics products, managing, for example, the return of discarded plastic pallets through reuse actions, product repair, or even through recycling, it allows recovering the economic value of discarded products.

And it is that, reverse logistics is not only a measure that favors sustainability, but it is a very effective system, especially in large volume applications and because it offers numerous competitive advantages to companies. Do you want to know what they are? Take note and do not lose detail. We present you some of the most outstanding ones.

• It offers a great competitive advantage over other companies in the sector.

• Improves the image of the company for the customer. The consumer feels more satisfied and interested in requesting services and buying products in those businesses that show a firm commitment to protect the environment.

• New outlets are given to reused materials.

• Generates business opportunities and new customer service services. Those focused on recycling, recovery, storage and repositioning of plastic pallets, reusable asset management, etc., stand out.

• It favors greater control and better organization of stock.

• Excess pallet storage is avoided, and available space is saved.

• The reuse of materials in production processes requires the use of less new raw material. This helps reduce the environmental impact.

• Facilitates cost reduction and profit increase.

• A closed-loop system in the supply chain is key to developing sustainable reverse logistics processes. 


Reverse logistics is an increasingly widespread process in the business world. While these practices contribute to environmental improvement, they are also a good business opportunity. Getting to increase your economic benefits by applying measures that also protect and take care of our natural environment is possible.

For this reason, the Naeco, (previously Nortpalet) team has always opted for the manufacture of plastic pallets, based on circular economy systems that allow, on the one hand, to recover the economic value of discarded pallets and on the other hand, to reduce the amount of equipment needed, increasing its reuse and facilitating its repair and subsequent recycling to turn waste into a new resource in a closed and infinite loop.

If you also want to provide sustainable added value to your logistics area using recycled plastic pallets that fit your business activity? Call us without obligation and our technical advisors will help you achieve it!