Sustainable packaging: meet the company making pallets out of paper


lternative packaging specialist Pallite was founded in 2008 with sustainability in mind. The business, based in Northamptonshire, develops environmentally friendly and cost-efficient paper pallets to move, protect and store goods, and offers customers a viable, more sustainable and fully recyclable alternative to wood.

Until recently, Pallite’s potential customers were concerned about the extra costs incurred by going green, says compliance and sustainability manager Matthew Marks, who joined the company in 2017 and has years of experience in quality and environmental management. However, now those customers are beginning to realise that thinking greener can actually make them more efficient.

Lightening the load

Pallite’s lightweight containers save on postage and fuel, and are fully recyclable

/ Pallite

“We come with a green premium – our pallets might be £1 to £2 more expensive,” Marks explains, “but actually the savings we can offer are huge.” This is because the company’s paper containers and packaging are lightweight, which lowers costs for customers exporting consignments of goods.

“A company that uses our shipping crates in the aviation sector has saved more than £100,000 a year in fuel because they weigh less, there’s less CO2 emitted and there’s less fuel consumption,” Marks says. All of the company’s products can be fully recycled again and again, instead of eventually ending up in landfill, as wooden pallets do.

This information has been used by Pallite as a powerful marketing tool, but Marks took care to avoid “greenwashing”. “We did a life-cycle analysis, looking at our products from cradle to grave, with help from management consultants,” he says. “The resulting 80-page report showed that we consume far less energy and generate fewer carbon emissions than a wooden alternative.”

People want to make the switch to something that is better for the planet, and their bottom line

Marks set about sharing these green credentials through the creation of a sustainability calculator on the company’s website, which enables customers to estimate the CO2 and fuel-cost savings they can make from switching to Pallite.

In addition, the company strives to minimise waste in its production process by making its use of resources more efficient. For instance, Pallite uses recycled material to fashion new products, such as ThermaLITE, a cost-effective and sustainable packaging alternative to polystyrene and foam inserts.

Business is now booming as sustainability has risen sharply up the corporate agenda. “Now people want to make the switch to something that is better for the planet, and their bottom line,” Marks says.

Build sustainability into your business

Google has created a new free, simple and actionable training programme to help small businesses reduce their emissions through business growth.

Developed in partnership with the UK Government’s Together for Our Planet campaign, the programme covers:

  • Why sustainability is good for business
  • How to start your journey
  • Where to use sustainability measures to engage employees and customers

From packaging to pop-ups

The perils of climate change, and an increasing awareness of what impact the destruction of natural ecosystems will have, means that the bottom line for businesses is changing. Today’s consumers are seeking out sustainable products and services over unsustainable bargains.

A report from Deloitte reveals that nearly one in three consumers have stopped purchasing certain brands or products because of sustainability concerns – while businesses are looking at longer-term savings rather than baulking at upfront costs. The new bottom line is green, with sustainability a benefit rather than a burden, and Pallite’s growth and success is built on that philosophy.

It’s an approach that fosters innovation as well as good business. In Pallite’s case, during the pandemic, they created an entirely new business line selling eco-friendly pop-up desks directly to consumers to support the transition to remote working.

Since then, demand for Pallite’s sustainable products has grown internationally, boosted by the increase in timber prices during the pandemic – which underlines the hard business sense embedded in sustainable business practices. “Many different countries want our products now,” Marks says. “Our business has skyrocketed.”

To discover how to make your business more sustainable like Pallite, sign up for Google’s free training programme here.

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