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The greener choice in shipping pallets

The entire transportation and warehousing industry relies on shipping pallets to increase the efficiency of material handling. Pallets are a necessity in the reality of worldwide shipping and manufacturing in the 21st century. Today certain people are pushing the use of plastic pallets as a more environmentally friendly shipping pallet choice. Are plastic pallets really a greener choice for shipping purposes or is this simply another false "green" declaration?

"Environmentally friendly plastic"
Although some types of plastics are "100% recyclable", looking at the facts, plastic cannot be a very close friend of the environment.
The manufacturing process of plastic products, including plastic pallets, passes through the oil well, the refinery and the oil tanker on its way to the plastic processing facility. Accumulate the pollution during manufacturing and even though this plastic pallet may end up being "100% recyclable", the path to recycling significantly impacts the environment. Just because a product is recyclable does not make it environmentally friendly. Let's face it; any form of plastic, whether it is grocery bags, bottles or pallets, is not high up on the environmentally conscious person's good list.

Wood pallets
Wooden pallets, manufactured using wood that has been rejected from the lumbering process, are certainly more environmentally friendly. The wood trimmings, leftover from lumber trees, are used to manufacture highly sustainable, reusable and useful wooden pallets and wooden crates for the shipping industry.

Heat treated wood pallets
Heat treatment is a method that is used to sterilize and clean wood pallets or wood crates. Wood pallets are heated for at least 30 minutes to reach a minimum core temperature of 56 °C (132.8 °F). Heat treatment eliminates the need to use a fungicide for sterilizing; avoiding using another, non-environmentally friendly toxin as well as the risk of contamination to the shipped products.

Food Safety Working Group (FSWG)
Established by President Obama in March 2009, the FSWG has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gather information concerning the current conditions and practices for packing fresh produce. Based on findings, the FDA will establish a draft guideline for the shipping industry aiming to reduce the risk of microbial contaminations during distribution. Responding to the FDA's request for public comments, the National Wooded Pallet and - - Container Association has submitted research supporting the superiority of wood pallets:

- Studies from the meat and dairy industries demonstrating that overall the bacterial count on wooden pallets is generally 15 percent lower than on plastic pallets

- Another study completed on pallets stored in a salt fish warehouse for 2 months demonstrated that subsequent to cleaning, bacterial survival is lowest on wood pallets [1]

Wooden pallet life
Wooden pallets can frequently be repaired. As well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, wood pallets that have reached the end of their practical life can be transformed into other products (wood flooring or replacement parts for other pallets). Many wood pallets are transformed into innovative and inexpensive furniture.

L.C.N. inc. was the first North American wood pallet manufacturer to offer heat treated pallets. As a leader among wood pallet manufacturers for more than 50 years, L.C.N. inc. guarantees that our products meet the strictest cleanliness and sterilization standards as required in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

1. Pallet Central, March 2010, page 13,



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L.C.N inc.
1180, Route 243, C.P. 210
Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey (Québec)

Telephone: 819 848-2521
fax: 819 848-2424
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