Environmental Product Declaration for Wooden Pallets
Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) are fast becoming the worldwide standard for comparing materials and products for their environmental impact. To develop usable EPD’s for the wooden pallet, the Pallet Foundation funded a research project with the USDA Forest Products Lab.
In 2020, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) and the Pallet Foundation presented an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for U.S. wooden pallets that reinforces the environmental attributes of wooden pallets for the supply chain and procurement industries. This document, certified by UL and produced in conjunction with Forest Products Lab, the research wing of the US Forest Service, is the first of its kind for a product in the distribution packaging space. This declaration speaks to the quantitative impact that wooden pallets have on the environment beyond their reusable, recyclable and biodegradable qualities.
When considering its life cycle, wooden pallets can have a potential net carbon positive impact. Through the unique properties of wood, carbon offsets may be achieved by the reuse of pallet materials and substituting wood fuel from pallet waste (e.g., unusable pallets) for natural gas.
Project Links & Contacts
The Pallet Foundation funds projects, such as the environmental product declaration, and life cycle assessment survey, which benefit the wood packaging industry. This research was conducted in collaboration with the NWPCA and the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab; Certified by UL.
- EPD for Wooden Pallets – full report
- EPD Transparency Summary
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Product Category Rule Guidance for Wooden Pallets
- Press Release (PR Newswire, 11/30/2020)
The respective project leads and researchers are:
- Richard Bergman, Lead Researcher, US Forest Products Lab
- Brad Gething, PhD, NWPCA Director of Science and Technology Integration
- Sevda Alanya-Rosenbaum, Researcher US Forest Products Lab
UL Logo Usage
Because this is an industry-wide EPD, companies that promote the EPD mark and program should be clear that their products are part of the industry-wide EPD and not their specific products. UL requires that all uses of the mark be sent to ULEmarketing@ul.com for approval so they can confirm that it’s used clearly and appropriately. Click here for guidelines on mark use which outlines where and how the mark can be used.
NWPCA Marketing & Member Examples
We’ll share information on how NWPCA Members are using the EPD-LCA documents. Please send any webpage links or marketing documents to Annette Ferri, VP, Communications, and we’ll provide the links below:
- “The Circular Economy of Wooden Pallets” flyer
- Kamps Pallets: What the EPD for U.S. Wooden Pallets Means for You
- Pallet Consultants: Wood Pallets Got an Environmental Declaration, Here’s What it Means
- Rose Pallets: Wood Pallets Receive EPD Certification
We would like to thank the hundreds of industry members who volunteered to take part in the survey, as well as the NWPCA Science and Technology Advisory Council, who played an integral role in developing the Life Cycle Assessment scope and parameters
This research was funded in part by the NWPCA, the Pallet Foundation and the USDA Forest Service. The ongoing support of impactful research related to the wood pallet industry is greatly appreciated.