Gatorade and Quaker start switching on April 1, and Tropicana's conversion begins May 1, and they expect to be fully converted as all existing inventory on wood pallets turns.
The plastic pallets from iGPS are about 30 percent lighter than wood pallets, can be fully recycled into new pallets when damaged. They are also embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, making it easy for companies to track them throughout their supply chains.
Some Gatorade, Propel and Quaker Foods products have been shipped on plastic pallets since June 2007. Gatorade's Oakland plant was one of the initial test grounds for plastic pallets, and it found that switching to plastic cut down on pallet repair and inspection, eliminated safety concerns like wood pieces accidentally scattered on the ground, made shipments lighter to truck and greatly reduced the amount of shipments refused by customers.
With wood pallets, some customers would refuse shipments if wood pallets were missing pieces or had nails sticking out, but after the switch, no customers refused loads. Plastic pallets also reduced product damage and waste within the plant that was caused by wood pallet pieces snapping while loaded up with products.
The companies notified their customers of the pallet switch this month with instructions on how to handle the iGPS pallets.