If you run a business that involves shipping materials consistently or even on an occasional basis, you might be tempted to make your own packing materials or recycle older materials for your shipping needs. While you might save a bit of money this way, there are many reasons to avoid DIY packing crates and pallets or recycled materials for packing and shipping. Note a few of those reasons here so you make the best decisions when it comes to shipping your materials and ensure they always arrive in good condition.
The first and foremost reason to avoid making your own pallets, shipping crates and other shipping materials is that there are often regulations in place dictating the wood species you might use, the size and thickness of crates, and so on. If you ship internationally, there are often even more regulations and restrictions when it comes to packing and shipping materials!
Using a prohibited wood for handmade pallets or crates, not packing certain hazardous or controlled substances properly, or filling a box with materials not allowed in certain areas often means having your items sent back at the border. You might even face fines and fees for using inappropriate shipping materials. To avoid this risk, buy your materials from a reputable manufacturer, and ensure you choose items that are designed specifically for your cargo and its destination.
If you've never manufactured shipping crates and pallets before, you might not realize all the details of their design and specifications! For example, the slats under crates and pallets are typically a certain width and spaced a certain length apart, so that the forks of forklifts can slide through them easily. Many companies also stack pallets and crates on top of each other when not in use to save storage space.
If you build your own materials and don't make them to these specifications, a warehouse or other facility might actually reject your materials. Your own crew might even struggle with moving or storing your materials as well.
Packing materials often lose their strength after use; foam peanuts might get crushed in transit, and cardboard boxes absorb moisture and then become soft and easy to bend. Wooden crates and pallets also tend to absorb moisture or might weaken under heavy loads. Using recycled materials for shipping or for creating your own shipping materials reduces the strength of those materials and increases the risk of having your materials damaged while in transit.