Pallets come to a large Belgian pharmaceutical company's receiving storage location from up to 1,000 suppliers. Most of them used to be made of wood. But for hygienic reasons, they could not pass into production: Particle-free environments are a necessity in pharmaceutical production because even the smallest fragments can contaminate medications.
And hygiene even plays a dominant role in peripheral areas, where medical preparations already in primary packaging that is in contact with the product — vials, bottles or tubes — are repackaged into boxes and cartons. That’s why there’s no role here for wooden pallets that give off dust or — worse yet — bring in fungi or insects.