USDA BioPreferred® Program

Wooden Pallets & the USDA BioPreferred® Program

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred® Program and the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) announced in November, 2016, that all coated and uncoated wood pallets manufactured with NWPCA’s Pallet Design System™ (PDS) are now recognized by USDA’s BioPreferred Program. Wood pallet manufacturers that use PDS may now affix a USDA Certified Biobased Product label to their PDS-made pallets showing they are 100% biobased products.

“Achieving certification for our PDS users confirms the strong environmental attributes of wood pallets and presents tremendous opportunities for our members,” said Brent McClendon, President and CEO of NWPCA.

All Federal agencies and their contractors have a sustainable product acquisition mandate to purchase biobased products identified by USDA’s BioPreferred® program.

“Biobased certification for NWPCA members’ pallets is an important accomplishment in demonstrating the sustainability of wood products,” said Kate Lewis of USDA’s BioPreferred® Program. “To receive product certification from USDA, pallets manufactured using PDS underwent third-party testing of multiple products,” said Lewis.

“We’ve been able to verify the Pallet Design System™ meets the strict requirements of the BioPreferred® Program and allows all of NWPCA’s PDS-using membership into the program. Hundreds of companies are now partners in the Program and may begin labelling their pallets.”

McClendon added, “It is a tremendous honor for us that USDA has recognized the innovative aspects of our Pallet Design System™ and how incorporating durability into wood pallet design reduces our nation’s reliance on petroleum. The biobased label is an impactful way to show what our industry is made of.”

The BioPreferred® Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded as part of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). The two major parts of the program are:

mandatory purchasing requirements for Federal agencies and their contractors; and,
a voluntary product certification and labeling initiative.

A product’s biobased content is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable carbon source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. Utilizing biobased materials displaces the need for non-renewable petroleum-based materials and plays an increasingly important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate global climate change.

Performance & Innovation

We’re proud to have USDA recognize PDS and the role it plays in wood pallet design and durability. Pallet performance matters and USDA recognizes the Pallet Design System™ (PDS) innovative approach.

  • PDS is the only product that evaluates wood pallet strength, stiffness and durability.
  • PDS’ innovative approach is the result of 30 years of rigorous engineering and creates a better performing pallet that is good for the environment, lasts longer, is lighter weight and uses less materials.