Did you know that over 90% of pallets and skids used for transporting goods in the world are made from wood?
The UK produces most of its packaging from timber, including wooden pallets, crates and boxes. Wood is a durable and renewable material therefore it is ideal for pallets and other transit packaging.
Due to the volume of wooden packaging being shipped across borders, there is an internationally agreed check to make sure there are no nasty bugs hiding in the timber which could cause devastation in vulnerable countries. The packaging standard that protects the world's forests from disease is called the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures no. 15 (ISPM15).
Every piece of wooden packaging that is treated is stamped with an internationally recognised mark to prove the packaging item has been treated to the ISPM15 standard. This mark essentially acts as a passport for the packaging item allowing it to be confidently transported across international borders with the knowledge it does not contain wood-borne pests.
The image below shows the relevant information that should be branded or stencilled on each heat treated pallet or wooden packaging item in accordance with ISPM15.
This stamp proves that a pallet has been sufficiently heat treated to the ISPM15 standard. If a certificate is also needed as proof, these can be supplied by the appropriate registered company although the stamp itself is like a mini certificate on each pallet.
To ensure that the threat of bugs has been eliminated, heat treatment is the most common form of treatment of wooden packaging. A heat treatment kiln must treat the packaging for a minimum period of 30 minutes at a constant temperature of 56oC at the core of the wood.
There is full accountability of heat treated pallets making it an important aspect of pallet movements across borders. The inclusion of the heat treatment symbol on each pallet gives importers the confidence that there is no risk of transferring wood-borne diseases that could cause threats to woodlands and forests.
Companies across the world are certified to heat treat pallets to the ISPM15 standard. Each company is given an individual reference number allowing all packaging that has been treated to be traced back to the company who treated it. For more information you can visit the UK Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) website.