Aldi Relies on Plastic Pallets

Recyclable plastic instead of wood: Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd are gradually changing their transport logistics from the classic wooden pallet to the „Kunststoff Düsseldorfer Palette“ (KDP). Instead of the exchange principle for pallets, a pooling system will then also be introduced.

The discounters Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd are repositioning themselves in the transport of goods: From autumn 2020, the classic wooden pallet, measuring 80 by 60 centimetres, is to be gradually replaced throughout the company by the „Kunststoff Düsseldorfer Palette“ (KDP). This is more durable and economical, the companies report. KDP is completely recyclable and already consists of around one third recycled material, including the yellow bin. The KDP is produced by Walther Faltsysteme.

Flexible all-rounder

„The plastic pallets are technologically ’state of the art‘, a real innovation for the optimisation of supply chains in food retailing“, says Stefan Ruhland, Director Logistics Management at Aldi Süd. According to the company, the pallet offers a static load capacity of up to 1,000 kilos, a dynamic load capacity of 500 kilos and is suitable for all common conveyor systems. A special contour is embedded in the pallet deck, which makes the pallet compatible with the usual returnable crates used in the fruit and vegetable sector. Carrying handles and anti-slip plugs increase the higher level of work and transport safety.

Pooling system instead of exchange principle

Instead of the exchange principle, KDP has a pooling system operated by Polymer Logistics. After each circulation, empty pallets are checked for damage and cleaned by the service provider. Integrated RFID chips and barcode labels are to enable the exact location of each pallet to be recorded. „The pooling service provider can track at any time how many pallets are in the depots, at the supplier and at the dealer. This also reduces pallet shrinkage,“ explains Arne Ringkowski, Teamlead Return Logistics at Aldi Nord.

While the wooden predecessors were usually no longer usable after a few rounds, the new pallets are designed to last longer. „Thanks to its modular design, the KDP can be repaired without much effort,“ emphasizes Ringkowski.