The Timber Packaging and Pallet Federation (TIMCON) has called for members of the logistics industry to demand specific information from the manufacturers of plastic pallets being used in their supply chains.
The organisation says a number of questions about the suitability of plastic pallets remain unanswered. These are:
•Do plastic pallets contain harmful deca-bromine or other fire-retardants?
•What percentage of plastic pallets still contains high levels of heavy metals?
•What is the carbon footprint of a plastic pallet compared with a timber pallet?
•What is the impact of a plastic pallet on the environment compared with a timber pallet?
•Are there any economic advantages of using a plastic pallet over a timber pallet?
TIMCON President John Dye said: “We are calling on members of the logistics industry who are using, or considering using these pallets, to ask for clear cut answers to the above questions. It is evident from recent stories placed in the press, and from comments made on the websites of certain manufacturers, that the sector harbours significant misunderstandings of both the disadvantages of using plastic and the considerable advantages of using timber. This clearly has implications for both the profitability and environmental impact of supply chains.”
Mr Dye, who is also international director of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) in the US, added: “The absence of authoritative information about plastic pallets is not only an issue in the UK, it is also a major cause for concern in many other markets around the world.”
Bruce N Scholnick, President and CEO of the National Wood Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA), TIMCON’s counterpart in the US said: “There are significant question marks about the use of plastic pallets in US and international supply chains. For example, concerns about the use of the fire retardant chemical deca-bromine, which has been added to plastic pallets by some US manufacturers. Some studies indicate products that contain deca-bromine can leach, making them potentially unsafe for use in food chains, or dangerous to the environment.”
Mr Dye added: “We want to ensure that the truth about timber and plastic are presented clearly and accurately, and are accessible to all who use packaging and pallets.
“Not only is a timber pallet up to six times lower in price than its plastic equivalent, it is made from a material that is at once re-usable, recyclable and repairable. It has a negative carbon footprint and plays a significant role in reducing climate change because it stores carbon as it grows. Timber is well established and meets all the international standards for pallets and packaging, which is why it continues to be the material of choice for supply chains.”
TIMCON represents leading players in the timber and timber packaging sector
The National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) is the US timber packaging industry’s key organisation, representing the interests of manufacturers, recyclers and distributors of pallets, containers and reels in the US
The NWPCA has expressed concerns over the use of deca-bromine, which some US manufacturers have been adding to their plastic pallets as a fire retardant.
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