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 to manufacture pallets and other transit packaging. If a pallet is damaged in transit, wooden components can easily be repaired, allowing the pallet to be reused several times.
Products being carried on wooden packaging could be shipped across country borders and therefore there is an internationally agreed check to make sure no nasty bugs are hiding in the timber. These bugs could potentially cause devastation to woodlands and forests in non-native and vulnerable countries, so the requirement is important to mitigate this problem. 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 treated wooden packaging is stamped with an internationally recognised mark, proving that the timber has been treated to the correct ISPM15 standard. This mark acts as the packaging's passport allowing it to be confidently transported across international borders with the knowledge it does not contain wood-borne pests. Treatment facilities can also issue a certificate confirming they are accredited to heat treat the timber.
The image below is an example of the stamp, either branded or stencilled on the timber, which shows that the timber has been sufficiently heat treated in accordance with ISPM15..
The treatment process involves placing the wooden products into a heat treatment kiln for a minimum period of 30 minutes at a constant temperature of 56oC at the core of the wood. Companies across the world are certified to heat treat pallets to the ISPM15 standard. Each company is given an individual reference number allowing all treated packaging 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.