Corners for pallet packaging
Corners for pallet packaging

Why Do You Need Cardboard Corners for Pallet Packing?

Pallet packing is simultaneously one of the most effective and wasteful ways of packing for large-volume transport. Now, this is improving, but the sheer volume of single-use polystyrene and other plastics for packing pallets is astounding.

The challenge here is difficult for a few reasons. Let’s look at some main considerations for pallet packing and how they could be done in an environmentally friendly way.

Pallets need to be wrapped

Because there are so many lateral forces in transit, the items on pallets need to be suitably secured to the pallets in order to stop them breaking loose and, well, breaking.

These lateral forces can either come from things like turning corners, vibration, sudden stops, and even potholes on road transit, or something as simple as the swaying of the sea with shipped freight. Currently, the most effective way to wrap a pallet is with a cling-film-like wrap called, imaginatively, Pallet Wrap.

This has a few benefits: firstly, it helps to tie everything stacked on the pallet together into, effectively, a single mass and also helps to tie it to the pallet. Secondly, when used with suitable layer pads and cornering, it helps distribute any pressure points across the whole face of the stack, which minimises stock breakages in transit. Thirdly, it helps to protect the stack contents from a certain level of water spills and rain.

This wrap is ubiquitous because it’s cheap.

You could expect to pay around £1 per pallet for enough pallet wrap to keep it sturdy. It’s easy to store, easy to transport by hand, and doesn’t really degrade with time if left in appropriate warehouse conditions.

A roll of pallet wrap can cost as little as £3.50 and see at least three pallets neatly wrapped. Yet, each time a pallet gets delivered, all of that wrap gets removed and thrown straight into a landfill bin. So these benefits for commercial interests very quickly become problems for environments.

While this solution saves a bit of time and space, it could easily be replaced with sheets that can cover the pallet stack and be strapped to the pallet wood itself. These covers already exist as thermal covers for chilled goods (or protection from extreme conditions) but could easily be made from hessian (like burlap sacks) or lightweight thick plastic sheeting for goods that require protection from water.

A first instinct is to assume these will be expensive – but a significant portion of pallet shipping works on a circular deposit-and-return economy for the pallets themselves. There’s no reason why pallet covers couldn’t also be provided on the same model.

A reusable cover can easily wrap the pallet stack and be strapped with reusable, robust ratchet straps.

Cornering & edging helps tie everything together

The other main challenge for single-height pallet shipping is that, in the process of wrapping the pallet, you have to ensure that proper corner and edging material is used so that no goods take undue pressure. By spreading pressure points across, say, the entire top edge of the stack, you can avoid any items getting damaged in transit.

The favourite for this application has been expanded polystyrene – it’s lightweight, it’s cheap, and it’s durable. But, again, its durability is a real problem for environments and ecosystems.

Again, polystyrene can be replaced with paper products to great effect! But the core issue here is that solid card edging, to be strong enough to withstand the challenges of transport, adds a great deal of weight. Our honeycomb core corner and edge protection board solves this issue through the innovative honeycomb core. Your usual run-of-the-mill corrugated cardboard is fine for standing upright, but can’t resist any compression – whereas the honeycomb structure in our boards can resist a surprising amount of force. You can read all about the honeycomb core here.

Completely recyclable and themselves made with recycled paper, these offer the most sustainable solution that doesn't compromise on quality.

Layer pads help to stack safely

The third most important consideration for pallet shipping is layering pallets in a way that ties them together safely and doesn’t put pressure on the contents of the pallets below.

Again, here, our solution provides a sustainable, effective way to stack pallets safely. Through making use of the impressive compressive strength of our honeycomb core, you can either use off-the-shelf standardised layer pads or, when necessary, custom fabricate slots for irregularly-shaped stacks to sit into.

So do you need cardboard corners for packaging?

Essentially, there are two answers here:

Firstly, you do need corners and edging for pallet packaging.

Secondly, you don’t need cardboard corners – and, we’d argue, you’ll get much better results with our honeycomb paper core boards.

If you’re unsure of what you need, let’s talk about the best solution.

13 February 2023