Destructive, Outdated’ Wood Pallets Endanger Environment, Food Supply

ORLANDO, Fla. – September 2, 2009 – Substituting plastic pallets for wood pallets in the supply chain will maximize protection of U.S. forests against the spread of invasive pests and deforestation, while maximizing protection to the environment and the U.S. food supply, a representative of Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS Company LLC) told the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.

“There is clear and compelling evidence that, no matter how they are compared, iGPS plastic pallets outperform wood pallets in every measure: deforestation, pest infestation, bacteria transmission, ozone depletion and global warming,” Anderson said. “Wood pallets are an environmentally destructive, outmoded shipping and storage platform whose value has been outstripped by advances in plastic pallet technology,” he added.

Following his appearance last week before the USDA in Washington, D.C., Anderson today appeared in Portland, Oregon at the second of four of the administration’s public meetings convened to document public concern about the risks posed by wood pallets and packaging through everyday commerce. As for alternatives to the antiquated wooden pallet, Anderson highlighted numerous advantages inherent to the innovative iGPS plastic pallet, each of which contains four radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that enhance supply chain tracking. Anderson’s comments included the following:

  • Wood pallets are a major factor in deforestation; nearly 40 percent of all hard wood harvested in the U.S. is used for pallets. Of these, about two-thirds of which are limited use, one-way pallets.
  • In 2006, wood pallets used 7.6 billion board feet of lumber, enough trees to cover an area 10 times the size of Manhattan, in just that year alone.
  • Over the past 150 years, deforestation has contributed an estimated 30 percent of the atmospheric build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas.

iGPS Plastic pallets are 100 percent recyclable and are ground and reused at the end of their life. On the other hand, wood pallets present a major waste problem—indeed, wood pallets amount to about 20 percent of all wood waste sent to landfills. The decay this waste produces includes, among other things, methane, which is a significantly more damaging greenhouse gas than even CO2.

“There are viable, innovative and available alternatives to the outdated wooden pallet platform. USDA is playing an important role in protecting our natural resources and the safety of the public, and we applaud and appreciate this opportunity to participate in this important discussion. We are confident that any investigation completed by USDA—or any other authority—will underscore the truth: iGPS plastic pallets offer greater protection to agriculture, forests and our nation’s food supply,” Anderson said.

For more information on the USDA public meetings on wood pallet risks, visit: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-19643.pdf

Anderson’s complete comments are available here.

About iGPS:
iGPS is the world’s first company to provide manufacturers and retailers with an all-plastic pallet pool with embedded RFID-tags. iGPS’s state-of-the-art pallets are 30 percent lighter than wood, which saves on transport costs, are easier to handle and eliminate protruding nails and splinters that cause workplace injuries and damaged equipment. In addition, embedded RFID tags enable shippers and receivers to track and trace shipments in real time. Launched in March 2006, the company is led by pallet and supply chain veterans with decades of experience. iGPS (www.igps.net) is headquartered in Orlando, FL.