Shipping pallets are a vital component of the transportation of goods across the globe, and more than half a billion pallets are made in the U.S each year. However, 57 percent of these pallets are used just once before they’re sent to landfills. Greystone Logistics does things a little differently.

Greystone manufactures its shipping pallets from 100 percent recycled plastic, and in 2010 it used more than 30 million pounds of postconsumer plastic. The company utilizes everything from flowerpots and milk jugs to pill bottles and car bumpers to create more sustainable pallets. The raw plastic is shredded, ground up and then converted into pellets to make the 4 million shipping pallets Greystone produces each year.

“Working with recycled plastic isn’t as easy as virgin plastic, but it’s the sustainable thing to do. It prevents 10 million pounds of wood from being cut down and eventually sent to landfills,” says Robert Noland, Greystone’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

A recycling center is located across the street from Greystone’s manufacturing plant, and the company has even found a sustainable way to transport its material. A used grain truck carries it to the facility because the pelletized plastic has a similar consistency to grain. What happens to old or damaged pallets? They’re recycled and made into new shipping pallets.

“We buy all our plastic back, recycle it 100 percent and put it through the same process,” says Noland. “We reuse the fiberglass rods, we reuse the grommets, and we buy the plastic back at residual value.”

MillerCoors is Greystone’s largest customer, and the companies have been working together for more than nine years. MillerCoors’ first order was for 13,000 pallets, but today the brewing company uses 250,000 recycled pallets. In 2011, all domestic beer shipments for MillerCoors will travel on recycled plastic pallets. 

“Like many companies, MillerCoors is concerned about its environmental footprint, but we recognize that we can’t do it on our own. We need to partner with suppliers like Greystone in coming up with creative solutions to reduce our impact on the environment,” says Kim Marotta, vice president of corporate social responsibility for MillerCoors.

“MillerCoors was extremely progressive in deciding to use recycled shipping pallets when they did. I’d like to compliment them on making that decision so long ago,” says Noland.

For more information on Greystone and its recycled shipping pallets, visit