Protecting natural resources. There is an increasing demand for timber to be purchased from independently certified legal and sustainable sources. Local authorities, timber merchants and wood packaging manufacturers are being encouraged to ensure that all timber supplied is from legal and sustainable sources. Credible proof is often required that the wood in the end product can be guaranteed to come from the source claimed and not only does the forest need to be certified as a sustainable source, but all along the supply chain to the end product. If this happens the final article can carry the stamp of accreditation from a recognised authority - this is known as chain of custody. To achieve this, timber and wood packaging suppliers can be independently assessed by either of the two leading European bodies FSC or PEFC. In fact a special legal and sustainable scheme even exists for recycled pallet dealers recognising that a percentage of the timber they use will always be from untraceable sources (see 86.e below)


Protection of the environment. A good example of the wide ranging approach to reducing waste and contamination in the European packaging industry is to be found in BS EN 13427: Requirements for the use of European Standards in the field of Packaging and Packaging Waste - which is a good example of CEN and the EU working together. EN 13427 is mandatory for all EU member countries and we have extensive help laid out for members in documents below. An example of the environmental protection in 13427 is the elimination of all metallic lead in packaging thereby avoiding the possibility of it passing into the soil of landfill and on into ground water. Potential for contamination is now much less than 10 years ago, achieved by steadily reducing contaminants in all walks of life. Timber preservative treatments have now eliminated arsenic and chromium by banning CCA (copper, chrome arsenate) pressure treatment of wood packaging. It is less and less likely that timber used in wood pallets or casemaking will be treated with any chemical, but when it is, most manufacturers use environmentally friendly treatments such as the new copper quaternary preservative compounds. Great care must still be taken to ensure timber supplies have not been chemically treated if likely payloads are in any way connected with food, drink, pharmacy or toys.

Protection of food, drink and toys. This is not usually an issue with secondary packaging such as pallets or cases which are not in direct contact with food or drink. However, when timber packaging becomes primary packaging (eg. packaging in direct contact with food) such as potato boxes, or soft fruit punnets made of thin wood veneer, then the wood should under no circumstances be treated with any chemical. This is much easier for the manufacturer to ensure than for the user to check. Direct contact is common with plastic packaging which is often primary packaging in direct food contact. Measuring if migration of chemicals occurs from packaging into food is covered in the requirements of various European Directives and a set of supporting EN standards. Laboratories have developed sophisticated methods for detection of chemicals in wood and plastic and manufacturers are increasingly setting in place controls and working towards elimination at source. One of the earliest EN standards published, was intended to ensure there were no harmful chemicals in wooden toys and it is the existence of this and EN test methods that triggered the recent return of painted toys to China- having failed some of these tests.

Not only food, drink and toys - the European cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries ship unit loads made up on pallets. Here the strict rules to avoid tainting of food may not apply, but the commercial risk of tainting high value shipments is still there. If you sell pallets or packaging into these industries, customers' needs may be just as tough and you need to be aware of how tainting arises and be able to reduce the risk of your packaging causing this. Basically this is achieved through control of moisture and avoidance of moulds, bluestain and chemicals. PalletLink is experienced in advising members on this and several of our datasheets cover these issues based upon experience over a period of years. For information on this issue go to the TREATMENTS/MOISTURE page or enter your interest as keywords into Quick Search. If you need further assistance contact our helpline.

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PDF73a Pallet blocks from scrap crumb rubber. (PDF 10kb)
PDF81a New timber pallets and packaging - hygiene issues. (PDF 118kb)
PDF81b Used timber pallets - pallet hygiene (PDF 59kb)
PDF81r Developing countries may use penta-based wood preservatives. (PDF 120kb)
PDF83b Preservatives - BPR - EU Biocide Regulations (PDF 28kb)
PDF84c DEFRA - Packaging Waste Regulations - Brief User Guide (PDF 259kb)
PDF84d DEFRA - Packaging Waste Regulations - 111 page User Guide (PDF 371kb)
PDF84f Wood packaging and EU Environmental Directive WEEE RoHS. (PDF 67kb)
Word Doc.84j Statement of Conformity to Packaging (Essential Requirements) 2003. (Word Doc. 41kb)
PDF84k Conformity with UK Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003. (PDF 104kb)
PDF84m DEFRA - How to register as a producer of packaging (PDF 129kb)
PDF86e Sustainable and recovered timber sources for pallets and packaging. (PDF 14kb)
PDF86g Environment - Pallets per tree - average spruce conifer. (PDF 87kb)
PDF86h French Scandinavian study of environment impact of wood usage (PDF 653kb)
PDF86j Legality of timber products on the market - EUTR. (PDF 111kb)
PDF88h New formaldehyde controls for composite pallet blocks (PDF 88kb)
PDF89a Chilled storage datasheet (PDF 12kb)
PDF89g Pallets & Packaging used in sub-zero temperatures. (PDF 12kb)
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