About heat treated pallets

What are heat-treated pallets?


This is the question you’re probably asking if you’ve never heard of them before. You’re not alone on this, as plain old wood pallets are more common.


Now, why do pallets need to be heated? Pallets are treated by heating to ensure that all inherent insects and larva are killed off, before the pallets are used for shipping of goods internationally. This doesn’t apply to pallets alone, but also crates, boxes, and other wooden containers used for international shipping.


The heat treatment is a phytosanitary process developed by IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), and regulated by ISPM 15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures) to reduce the risk of spreading of insects and wood diseases around the globe.


The treatment process involves the heating of pallets, crates, or boxes to a core temperature of 140 degrees for a minimum of 30 minutes. This kills off insects and larva present in the pallets.


Heat-treated pallets are mandatory in many countries of the world. However, not all countries have adopted the ISPM 15 standardization for pallets. This is because before the push for international standardization, every region has their own standards as regards boxes, crates and pallets used for international shipping.


If you’re an exporter that transports items to various countries, it’s important you know the countries that require you ship your goods in heat-treated pallets to avoid disappointments. Most countries are already participants in the ISPM 15 standard, so you’ll need to do your homework well.


Aside from preventing the spread of wood diseases and insects, another benefit of heat-treated pallets is that the heat treatment gets rids of moisture from soft woods used in the construction of some pallets. This strengthens the fibers of the wood, making it stronger.


Wood conveyances that shouldn’t be treated:


·      Wooden barrels already treated during the process

·      Processed wood like particle board

·      Packaging materials less than 6 mm thick

·      Wood parts permanently attached to freight vehicles and containers

·      Veneer boards made with pressure, glue and heat

·      Wood shavings

·      Wood wool

·      Wood sawdust


Chemical treatment

This is an alternative wood treatment method, but it’s not widely acceptable. Firstly, it’s more expensive, and secondly, there is some risk involved. The chemical treatment can be dangerous for the individuals working with them, and it can also make some buyers weary. More so, it limits the recyclability of the pallets. This is why heat treatment is more favourable.


The Bottom Line


Heat-treated pallets are not only necessary, but also important both for the environment and the safety of the user. More so, they are safer, stronger and affordable.


If you’re exporter, and make use of heat-treated pallets, you should be confident knowing that your business is in compliance. Plus, you don’t get to worry about getting through customs. Another thing, ensure you get familiar with heat treat mark on your pallets, so you know exactly what you’re getting from your supplier.