Two BILLION pallets are used for transporting products every day. Many more pallets are lying around. It is no surprise that so many projects are made with pallets! At STH from NTH, we have lots of ways to recycle, upcycle, reuse, or repurpose wooden pallets! But are those pallets safe to use? Many of you have questions about pallet’s safety and wonder if the pallets they found are Safe to use or not.
Pallets can become contaminated with chemicals spilled on them during the shipping process. If there are any spills on it, either oil, food or unknown substances, do not use this pallet! Pallets are frequently used to transport dangerous or toxic chemicals/liquids. It is much safer to use only clean ones and not try to identify what might be on your pallet. Once you have found a clean pallet, the next step is to check for a stamp or marking on the sides of the pallet. Here is what we can tell you about those stamps:
[IPPC]: The IPPC logo should always be present. The IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) exists to prevent and control the spread or introduction of pests of plants/plant products around the world. So right away this tells you something about this pallet – the logo is present because this wooden pallet will be moving between countries and its purpose is to advise of the measures that have been taken (if any) to prevent pests from also moving between countries.
Choose the Safe treatment method when upcycling pallets:
[HT]: Wooden pallets manufactured in Canada or the US undergo a pest control treatment called heat treating (HT) which involves heating the pallet to a minimum core temperature of 56°C for softwoods and 60°C for hardwoods for a minimum of 30 minutes in a kiln.
HT pallets are not harmful to your health.
[KD]: The purpose of kiln-dried lumber is to reduce the moisture content of the wood (19% or less). This coding system is a means to control warping, fungal growth, and other quality features. The kilns or ovens used to dry the wood do not necessarily reach the sustained temperature of 56 Celsius that would qualify as heat treated. Many lumber mills are processing their timber to meet the heat treatment requirements; thus you will see “KD-HT” incorporated in the wood grade stamp. Don’t be fooled by that old appearance! With cherry and oak wood, the curing temperature causes releases sap from within the wood. Sap coats the wood with a dark stain, making the pallets or crates appear old and worn. The heat treating process does not compromise the strength and durability of pallets and containers.
KD pallets are not harmful to your health.
[DB]: Debarked. Just about all pallets are made from ‘debarked wood’ and all it means is that the bark of the tree has been removed from the wood used. This is done to ensure any other heat treatments can be applied efficiently to the wood.
DB pallets are not harmful to your health.
Stay Safe and avoid MB pallets!
[MB]: Methyl bromide fumigation, this is a potent pesticide linked to human health problems and ozone layer depletion. Methyl bromide fumigation kills invasive species like pine beetles.
MB pallets are harmful to your health.
Blue Pallets vs Red Pallets vs Brown Pallets? Are they Safe?
Colored pallets (blue pallets, brown pallets & red pallets) are controversial. Rental companies own colored pallets. They don’t treat the pallets with methyl bromide. Rental pallets are sometimes used for international shipping, so there can be concerns! Some countries are fumigating all incoming pallets. Not every country is always compliant with international standards.