Packaging, Logistical performance, Operating optimisation, News & Events, Packaging, Packaging case studies, Packaging expertise

Reducing the cost of wrapping pallets, while increasing efficiency and sustainability

07 Jul 2023 —
Pallet stretch wrapping banner

Stretch film usage in the food, drink and 3PL industries faces several specific challenges.

Stretch film usage in the food, drink and 3PL industries faces several specific challenges.

Pallets can be handled up to 15 times in their journey through distribution to the final place of sale, pallets that are not safely wrapped can fail at any part of this journey causing refusals, returns or the need to be rewrapped.

Another peculiar challenge is the act of wrapping warm products. Warm loads can cause condensation, which can lead to any corrugate getting damp and losing its strength, which can also destabilise the load if the correct breathable stretch film is not used.

Occasionally, there is a lack of tertiary cartons which can cause problems with load stability that, in turn, can lead to the overuse of film to secure the produce. Particularly heavy loads on pallets can also cause the same issues with stability.

Unseen costs to unstable pallets

End users refusing to offload damaged or unstable pallets, which can lead to return haulage costs, food wastage, and increased CO2 impact (returns typically use 3 times the CO2 as right-first-time deliveries).

There can be a higher risk of traffic incidents with unstable loads in the back of a trailer causing inertia and making the vehicle difficult and dangerous to drive, again extra haulage costs and increased CO2 are an issue as well as Health and Safety concerns for the haulier and other road users.

At its simplest, unstable loads can contribute to damaged products and result in returns, refunds, and food waste. And of course, these things can happen at any point on the product's journey to the end user, causing unnecessary costs if pallets have not been wrapped optimally.

How to optimise stretch film usage

We can apply the four building blocks of optimising packaging holistically to stretch film usage and application.


Cost management 

Looking at the holistic process for saving costs is where you will make the best savings. Film that is cheaper per roll is often a false economy, meaning more is needed to stabilize pallets. Also, if the maximum stretch of the film is not obtained, you are paying for a thicker film than necessary. Downtime due to changing rolls more often also contributes to higher costs - a smaller roll (due to handling weight) of hand film will typically wrap 3-4 pallets before the roll needs changing. Whereas, a large roll of optimized machine film can wrap up to 100 pallets without the need to change the roll.


Our data suggests that if you are hand wrapping more than 15 pallets a day, the return on machine investment, increased efficiency, and subsequent cost savings is worth the swap to machine wrapping. There are also manual handling issues with hand-wrapping pallets; the operator’s body is often in an unnatural, twisted position which goes against the current recommendations for lifting and handling.

Machine wrapping works best when combined with the correct use of film to match the amount of pre-stretch the machine is capable of. Efficient and consistent results when wrapping pallets with the optimum film and machinery can reduce the impact of damages, unstable loads, and extra haulage.

An Antalis stretchCONSULT will help you confirm if you’re using the most suitable film or provide you with better options to improve your current pallet wrapping process.


Find the best solution for your unit load security and reduce your film consumption


Find out more
Stretch Film


While reducing co2 through less haulage, fewer returns, and food waste is a benefit of optimising your stretch film, reducing the use of plastic is another aspect to consider. Reduction of plastic use is not limited to the thickness or, recycled content of your film; stretch film machinery, hand use, and the stability of pallets should all be considered. In some circumstances, a 240% pre-stretch machine film with a suitable machine can be cheaper and use less virgin material than a recycled film.

Customer experience

Reduction in waste, damages, returns, and CO2 creates a better customer experience. Correctly stabilised loads also make for a much safer environment for anyone who has to handle the load on its journey.

You can download a copy of the White paper ‘Optimising your packaging’ here for more information on the four building blocks

Optimise your packaging

Download now
Whitepaper banner

Looking for pallet toppers, skirts and corrugate accessories? We can produce bespoke and standard sizes, and small runs through our box making facility.  Find out more below.