DELFT, NETHERLANDS -- IKEA, the world's largest retailer of furniture, is phasing out wooden pallets in favor of cardboard pallets to transport its products.

IKEA said it will use a special corrugated cardboard pallet that's lighter, thinner and cheaper to use than traditional wooden pallets. The 2-inch high paper pallets, weigh about 5.5 pounds and reportedly can support a load of approximately 1,650 pounds.

The company uses about 10 million pallets each year, according to Bloomberg BusinessNews. IKEA estimates that converting to the single-use, recyclable pallets, will cut annual transportation costs by about 10 percent -- approximately $193 million. More than half of those expected savings will be offset by costs to procure paper to make the pallets and investment in new forklifts required to handle the pallet's slimmer design.

In addition to wood, IKEA has used a polypropylene plastic pallet of its own design for some of its shipping needs. IKEA describes its patented Loading Ledges as "a smart alternative to traditional wooden pallets. Instead of a pallet’s rigid platform, ledges are flexible, expanding and contracting to the size of the load.

 

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