The Pros and Cons of Using Heat Treated Pallets

Enjoy the many benefits of heat-treated pallets in London by using a local company that provides an expert service.

There are many reasons why heat-treated pallets are used, and as of 1st January this year, it is now a legal requirement for any pallets moving between the UK and the EU. Whilst there are considerable benefits to opting for heat treated pallets for all uses, there are a number of downsides often associated with them, too.


What Is A Heat-Treated Pallet?

A heat-treated pallet is a wooden pallet that has undergone a phyto-sanitory process which was originally developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The process sees the wooden pallets (as well as boxes or crates made of timber) heated to a core temperature of 140 degrees. This core temperature is then maintained for a minimum of thirty minutes. This is to ensure that the pallet, crate or box is sufficiently treated that any insects, their larvae and any other organisms that might be contained within them are completely destroyed.

Once the timber has cooled, the pallets are marked with the internationally recognised stamp of the International Standards for Phyto-sanitary Measures Rule No. 15, which is commonly known as ISPM-15. The heat-treated pallets are now ready for use, either for transportation in the UK or internationally.

Why Is Heat Treatment Necessary?

As we mentioned above, it is now a legal requirement that any wooden pallets moving between the UK and the EU are compliant with ISPM-15, yet the reasons for heat treating go beyond simple standardisation or bureaucracy. The material that pallets, boxes and crates are made of, timber, is a natural substance which is taken from trees growing in living woodland, and, as a result, the timber is likely to affect by the environment in which it was grown.

Many factors can have an influence on the quality and safety of the wood being grown, ranging from the quality of water used to nourish it as it grows, the soil it is planted in, and even the air that the trees breathe. The trees that will eventually produce the timber that forms the pallets, boxes and crates are continually absorbing micro-organisms, including insects and their larvae.

Unfortunately, should these pests survive the pallet production phase, they may cause serious damage to the timber. Furthermore, these pests can cause devastating environmental damage if they reach a new ecosystem which is not equipped to handle them. For the health and safety of both our fragile ecosystem here in the UK and the ecosystems of the countries to which our pallets are to be transported, it is therefore essential to heat-treat the timber to avoid the introduction of alien pests.

Other Benefits Of Heat-Treated Pallets In London

As well as the vital protection for our environment, heat-treating pallets offers a number of other benefits. By removing the damaging pests within the timber, the pallet is likely to have a much longer lifespan, and can be reused or repurposed, thereby continuing to help the environment. The heating process dries out the wood, meaning that the pallets are much less susceptible to developing mould and other harmful bacteria, which could be transferred to the pallet’s contents.

The removal of the moisture also makes the pallet slightly lighter, which can make a significant cost saving where a large volume of such pallets are to be transported. And, by showing that your pallets are marked as compliant with international heat-treatment standards, you can save valuable time at port. For heat-treated pallets in London, make sure the service you choose adheres to these international criteria to get the best benefits.

The Downsides Of Heat-Treatment

The main downsides associated with heat treated pallets are the perceived cost and the challenge of finding the best quality pallets. However, these difficulties can be overcome by taking care when selecting a company offering heat-treated pallets in London. The heat-treatment process may cost a little more, but the advantages, such as longer life of the pallet and the ability to ship abroad, make up for any initial expense. And, by checking for the ISPM-15 stamp, you will know that your heat treated pallets are of the quality you need.

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