In the US alone, it's estimated that 1.9 billion pallets are hard at work on the daily. Essential to supply chains, these unassuming platforms are busy transporting everything from your morning coffee to the high-tech components helping to lift rockets into space.
Roughly 90% of US pallets are made from wood. That's according to the latest Annual Pallet Report published by Modern Materials Handling. With so many wooden pallets in circulation, you may be asking if wooden pallets are really a sustainable choice. Yes, yes they are.
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
While most attention in distribution packaging has been (rightly) focused on the chaos ushered in by COVID-19, there was a quiet celebration for wooden pallets in the United States:
In July 2020, UL certified the "Industry-Average Wooden Pallet EPD"
An EPD (short for Environmental Product Declaration) is a huge achievement for the US wooden pallet. For starters, an EPD has never before been granted for packaging material. More importantly, the declaration gives wooden pallets the distinction of being leaders in environmental stewardship. The industry-average wooden pallet EPD includes:
It's all about Life Cycle
The Pallet Foundation and the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) spearheaded efforts to gain independent certification for the US wooden pallet. The two sponsoring organizations shined a light on measurable environmental life cycle benefits beyond the already inherent qualities of wooden packaging:
The US Forest Products Lab (the research arm of the US Forest Service) collected and analyzed the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data used by UL for investigating and verifying scientific criteria. The outcome is detailed in a comprehensive report certified by UL. The report provides wooden pallet users a transparent view of life cycle impact categories like these:
Both the transparency summary report and the full wooden pallet EPD are available for online review and download from UL. UL is a global leader in product category rules (PCR) creation and EPD certification.
Wood Packaging is your Sustainable Choice
The EPD from UL is a disclosure tool to help wooden pallet buyers make informed decisions about sustainability and environmental impacts when choosing packaging solutions. Wood is a durable and eco-friendly choice for pallets and other wood packaging including crates, boxes and bins.
Nelson helps companies identify and manage environmental risks and wood packaging sustainability opportunities. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our customized green solutions.
Post by: Rich Reiher, Vice President
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