The Eco-Friendly Pallet Industry
19 Mar 2016
With a wide range of pallets on the market, the choice can be overwhelming. A new initiative, however, could make that decision a little bit easier for those concerned about the environment.
The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA), the Canadian association the Western Pallet Association (WPA) and the Pallet Foundation have joined forces to form Nature’s Packaging, an initiative to encourage the use of wood pallets and packaging. The organisation distributes educational literature to pallet users and aims to inform them about the benefits of using wooden packaging through their website, which launched in March 2016. While the organisation claims it has no interest in criticising other forms of packaging, such as plastic, it certainly makes a persuasive case for the use of wooden products.
Unlike plastic pallets and packaging, wooden products are entirely biodegradable as well as easily recycled again and again. In fact, even at the end of the life of each wooden pallet, they can be ground down into wood fibre for further use, avoiding landfill. In addition to this, according to the Confederation Europeenne des Industries du Bois, every time wooden products are used in place of other materials, 1.1 tonne less of CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere.
While there are clearly many advantages to using wood, some critics have raised concerns about the fact that deforestation can have devastating effects on large swathes of woodland. While it’s a valid concern, Natures Packaging claim that North America’s forests are currently growing at twice the rate of deforestation, negating any increased use of wood.
While Natures Packaging is based in North America, the initiative has sparked some interest in Europe, with more customers showing an interest in green alternatives to non-wood materials. In terms of wooden pallets price has been a concern for some, who were worried that wooden pallets’ price may be higher than their regular orders. However, with the rise in popularity of wood, the prices are becoming more and more competitive and affordable. What’s more, many companies are stocking wooden pallets in the standard pallet size UK and Europe customers require, so systems need not change to accommodate the new products.
The Natures Packaging initiative draws much-needed attention to the importance of implementing environmentally friendly practices within industry. With just a few small changes, a huge difference can be made to the amount of CO2 which is emitted into the atmosphere, reducing the effects of global warming. By continuing to pay attention to sustainable alternatives, we can look after the planet without affecting the success of our businesses.