'Brilliant’ Norfolk builder's pallets aim to cut construction materials waste

The Pallet LOOP team at Kettering Hall, Wymondham

The Pallet LOOP team from left, chief executive Phil Dent, chief operating officer Steve Ottaway, founder Paul Lewis, head of partnerships and innovation Nathan Wride, and head of contractor engagement Charlie Law - Credit: Pallet LOOP

A new pallet business is hoping to play a key part in creating a sustainable supply chain for building materials.

The Pallet LOOP is aimed at solving the problem posed by a lack of pallet reuse in the UK, creating huge amounts of waste in the construction sector.

The business - which has its headquarters at Ketteringham Hall near Wymondham - is supported by some of the biggest names in the UK pallet industry.

Big players including BAM Construct UK Ltd, Bradfords Building Supplies, BDL/Careys, FIS (The Finishes & Interiors Sector), Lovell, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, Meronden, Morgan Sindall Group, MKM, MSK, Platt & Reilly and Wilmott Dixon have signed a charter welcoming its launch.

They believe widespread adoption of The Pallet LOOP across the construction sector will greatly reduce the burden that pallet production currently places on the environment and forests — achieving around 40% lower CO2 emissions.

Building material manufacturers will pay a deposit per pallet for the Pallet LOOP along with a separate issue fee. As the pallets move through the supply chain, the deposit will pass from manufacturer to merchant to end user. Once materials reach their final destination, pallets can be stacked and stored ready for collection by The Pallet LOOP, which has a dedicated recovery infrastructure in place. Deposits are then repaid in full to the end-user.

Pallet LOOP founder Paul Lewis said adoption of the system will require a shift in mindset from ‘deliver, distribute, discard’ to ‘recover, repair and reuse’.

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“As a business we’re committed to reducing the impact on the planet that comes from pallet use in the construction industry supply chain. We aim to sustainably manage and reduce the cost of pallets for our customers — making palletised logistics greener and leaner,” he said.

“At present, the vast majority of pallets circulating in the sector are designed for single use. The current industry specification for pallets works on the assumption that they will be scrapped or skipped once they reach their final destination. We’re turning this outdated, inefficient and linear practice on its head. In a step-change for the sector, we’ve developed a range of standardised pallets, engineered to last and to be used again and again.

Norman Scott, is the owner and group operations director at pallet recovery business the Scott Group, which owns the company behind the innovation. The new-style pallets were trialled across a number of main contractors in October. “As committed innovators, we’re delighted to introduce The Pallet LOOP to our range of industry-leading, sustainable pallet solutions,” he said.

The Pallet LOOP at Kettering Hall, Wymondham

Builder's pallets made by The Pallet LOOP at Kettering Hall, Wymondham - Credit: Pallet LOOP

Graham Edgell of Morgan Sindall Group, said: “At the moment, the pallets used by the construction industry are the equivalent of single-use plastics in the hospitality sector. It really isn’t acceptable that so many are used just once and then discarded each year. LOOP’s innovation to introduce a higher spec pallet that can be reused and recycled multiple times is a brilliant idea that we support 100%.”

Mr Lewis worked for his family business HLC (Wood Products) Ltd, based at Needham, Harleston, for 15 years. It opened three additional pallet production facilities and increased company revenues from £3.5m to in excess of £50m. In 2019, he and his family sold HLC Ltd to Scott Group.

The Pallet LOOP at Kettering Hall, Wymondham

The Pallet LOOP at Kettering Hall, Wymondham - Credit: The Pallet LOOP

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