The Benefits of Plastic Pallets over WoodenPallets:
For many years, large wooden pallets were used in shipping products from one place to another by air, sea, railways, and on the highway. Recently, many companies have made the shift from wooden pallets to plastic pallets, a decision that is based on sound reasoning at various levels of concern. In this article, we will take a look at why plastic pallets are superior to wooden pallets when it comes to transportation of goods.
One of the most important advantages of a plastic pallet is the durability of the material over wood. This benefits the both shipper and receiver in a number of areas.
Plastic pallets won't splinter. Wood pallets are prone to splintering during shipping. These splinters can be messy and may even create a safety hazard for handlers. Perhaps even more important, splinters have the potential to damage the goods for which the pallets are supposed to be protecting. Plastic is a highly cohesive material that is unlikely to chip during even rough transport, with no chance of large splinters breaking off.
Cost efficient. Of course, the more durable a pallet is, the more money saved by the shipper or receiver. Wooden pallets are much more likely to break apart sooner than plastic pallets; a plastic pallet can conceivably be used for years before it has to be replaced, if it ever does.
In addition to their durability, plastic pallets also have the advantage of accommodating different types of goods within the same pallet. Most plastic pallets will include dividers of various sizes, allowing the pallet to be adapted to the goods that one wishes to ship or receive.
The flexibility of plastic pallets may also mean savings when it comes to transportation costs. Wooden pallets must be stacked in a certain way once emptied; plastic pallets, on the other hand, can be collapsed and fit into a much smaller space. This means that less room is used on the transport vehicle, resulting in lower costs and fewer trips.
Finally, consider the environmental impact of plastic and wood. While it is true that plastic will break down at a much slower rate, this simply means that a plastic pallet will be used for a much longer period of time (in fact, much, much longer). The continual construction of replacement wooden pallets is much more harmful to the environment than plastic pallets, which can not only be used over and over for years, but they also have the potential to be recycled, and be made from recycled materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of the frequently asked questions and answers written as an aide in interpreting the implementation of the United States Heat Treatment and Fumigation Program. Please read summary of the Wood Packaging Material Export Programs before viewing the questions.
What does ISPM15 stand for?
The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM15) is one of several International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures adopted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is an international treaty to secure action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control. ISPM15 is a standard on which many countries WPM regulations are based upon.
What is wood packaging material?
Wood packaging material or WPM is also called Non-Manufactured Wood Packing (NMWP) or Solid Wood Packing Material (SWPM) defined as "hardwood and softwood packaging other than that comprised wholly of wood-based products such as plywood, particle board, oriented strand board, veneer, wood wool, etc., which has been created using glue, heat, and pressure or a combination thereof used in supporting, protecting or carrying a commodity (includes dunnage)."
Examples of WPM includes but not limited to pallets, skids, pallet collars, containers, cratings/crates, boxes, cases, bins, reels, drums, load boards, dunnage. Wood packaging made of exempt materials but combined with solid wood components must still be treated and marked.
What is a quality/treatment mark?
For both heat treatment (HT) and methyl bromide (MB) fumigation programs , the quality/treatment Mark consists of the a) agency trademark which is the identifying symbol, logo or name of the accredited agency, b) the Facility Identification which is the WPM product manufacturer name, brand or assigned facility number, c) the HT or MB mark, d) the country code which is the two letter ISO country abbreviation, e) the IPPC Approved international symbol for compliant wood packaging material and f) DUN when indication is used for dunnage.
Can I make my own ISPM15 mark?
No, you have to be registered with one of the accredited inspection agencies. Here are links for the list of inspection agencies:
Is there a listing of lumber mills whereby heat treated lumber may be purchased?
APHIS does not have information pertaining to lumber mills providing HT marked wood. Heat treated lumber with the required HT stamp must first be requested of the mill. It is the HT stamp that the inspection agency facilities will first be looking for when applying the grading agency official mark to the assembled product.
Is my WPM required to be heat treated and fumigated?
No, under the ISPM15 standard WPM is required to be either Heat Treated to 56 degrees C to the core for 30 minutes or fumigated with Methyl Bromide to the schedule in the ISPM15 document.
Is there an expiration date once my WPM has been either heat treated or fumigated?
The intent of the ISPM15 standard is that once the WPM is treated and officially marked the treatment does not expire. Thus, you can reuse WPM without requiring retreatment and remarking.
WPM that has been repaired or recycled is required to be either fumigated or heat treated again. The old mark is required to be obliterated with a new mark applied by one of the inspection agencies.
Where can I find information pertaining to what countries have or may adopt regulations based on the ISPM15 standard?
This information may be accessed at the following site: Countries Requiring ISPM 15
Are exports of WPM to Hawaii, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Trust Territories required to be treated and given the ISPM15 mark?
Some countries are asking for phytosanitary certificates to be issued for WPM. Does the U.S. issue a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate for WPM?
No, it is against APHIS policy to issue a phytosanitary certificate for WPM used in the transport of commodities. If the WPM is the cargo, only then can a phytosanitary certificate be issued.
How can I ensure that my dunnage is compliant with the importing countries requirements?
Contact one of the inspection agencies under either the Heat Treatment or Fumigation Programs to obtain information on obtaining treated and officially marked dunnage.
My wood packaging materials are made up of hardwood. Is hardwood WPM required to be treated and officially marked?
Hardwood WPM is required to be treated and officially marked.