This month, Swedish retailer IKEA is replacing its wooden shipping pallets with a thinner, lighter and cheaper alternative made from corrugated cardboard. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the company uses 10 million pallets to ship its goods to 287 stores in 26 countries. The new cardboard pallets will be able to support weights of up to 1,650 pounds, the same as timber.
They will be used only once before being recycled and IKEA will need to spend around €90 million annually on material and new forklifts to handle the slimmer pallets. However, they are 90% lighter than wooden pallets and one-third the height at just 2 inches thick. This makes them easier and cheaper to transport and will result in a 10% saving for transport costs, with the company expecting to cut its bills by $193 million a year as a result of this green-friendly modernization.