Protecting natural resources. There is an increasing demand for timber to be purchased from independently certified legal and sustainable sources. Local authorities, timber merchants and wood packaging manufacturers are being encouraged to ensure that all timber supplied is from legal and sustainable sources. Credible proof is often required that the wood in the end product can be guaranteed to come from the source claimed and not only does the forest need to be certified as a sustainable source, but all along the supply chain to the end product. If this happens the final article can carry the stamp of accreditation from a recognised authority - this is known as chain of custody. To achieve this, timber and wood packaging suppliers can be independently assessed by either of the two leading European bodies FSC or PEFC. In fact a special legal and sustainable scheme even exists for recycled pallet dealers recognising that a percentage of the timber they use will always be from untraceable sources (see 86.e below)
Protection of the environment. A good example of the wide ranging approach to reducing waste and contamination in the European packaging industry is to be found in BS EN 13427: Requirements for the use of European Standards in the field of Packaging and Packaging Waste - which is a good example of CEN and the EU working together. EN 13427 is mandatory for all EU member countries and we have extensive help laid out for members in documents below. An example of the environmental protection in 13427 is the elimination of all metallic lead in packaging thereby avoiding the possibility of it passing into the soil of landfill and on into ground water. Potential for contamination is now much less than 10 years ago, achieved by steadily reducing contaminants in all walks of life. Timber preservative treatments have now eliminated arsenic and chromium by banning CCA (copper, chrome arsenate) pressure treatment of wood packaging. It is less and less likely that timber used in wood pallets or casemaking will be treated with any chemical, but when it is, most manufacturers use environmentally friendly treatments such as the new copper quaternary preservative compounds. Great care must still be taken to ensure timber supplies have not been chemically treated if likely payloads are in any way connected with food, drink, pharmacy or toys.
Protection of food, drink and toys. This is not usually an issue with secondary packaging such as pallets or cases which are not in direct contact with food or drink. However, when timber packaging becomes primary packaging (eg. packaging in direct contact with food) such as potato boxes, or soft fruit punnets made of thin wood veneer, then the wood should under no circumstances be treated with any chemical. This is much easier for the manufacturer to ensure than for the user to check. Direct contact is common with plastic packaging which is often primary packaging in direct food contact. Measuring if migration of chemicals occurs from packaging into food is covered in the requirements of various European Directives and a set of supporting EN standards. Laboratories have developed sophisticated methods for detection of chemicals in wood and plastic and manufacturers are increasingly setting in place controls and working towards elimination at source. One of the earliest EN standards published, was intended to ensure there were no harmful chemicals in wooden toys and it is the existence of this and EN test methods that triggered the recent return of painted toys to China- having failed some of these tests.
Not only food, drink and toys - the European cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries ship unit loads made up on pallets. Here the strict rules to avoid tainting of food may not apply, but the commercial risk of tainting high value shipments is still there. If you sell pallets or packaging into these industries, customers' needs may be just as tough and you need to be aware of how tainting arises and be able to reduce the risk of your packaging causing this. Basically this is achieved through control of moisture and avoidance of moulds, bluestain and chemicals. PalletLink is experienced in advising members on this and several of our datasheets cover these issues based upon experience over a period of years. For information on this issue go to the TREATMENTS/MOISTURE page or enter your interest as keywords into Quick Search. If you need further assistance contact our helpline.
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81b Used timber pallets and packaing - hygiene issues (PDF 20kb)
81d New timber pallets and packaging - moulds, bluestain and health issues (PDF 56kb)
81j Issues with mould and stain appearing after kiln drying of pallets (PDF 20kb)
81r Developing countries may use penta-based wood tainting preservatives (PDF 18kb)
84a Summary of Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations in UK (PDF 27kb)
84c DEFRA - Packaging Waste Regulations - Brief User Guide (PDF 259kb)
84d DEFRA - Packaging Waste Regulations - 111 page User Guide (PDF 371kb)
84f Wood packaging and the EU Environmental Directive - WEEE - RoHS (PDF 19kb)
84h REACH regulations - specimen request to suppliers for registration data (PDF 19kb)
84i REACH regulations - how they affect the pallet and packaging industry (PDF 25kb)
84j Conforming to EN 13427 - Company Declaration Form (Word Doc. 37kb)
84k Conformity with UK Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (PDF 25kb)
84L European Waste Catalogue (EWC 2002) codes explained (PDF 18kb)
84m DEFRA - How to register as a producer of packaging (PDF 129kb)
84q DEFRA - List of Packaging Waste Compliance Schemes at June 2007 (PDF 12kb)
86e Sustainable and recovered timber sources for pallets and packaging (PDF 22kb)
86g Pallets per tree and volume of a spruce conifer (PDF 37kb)
86h French Scandinavian study of environment impact of wood usage (PDF 653kb)
86j Legality of timber products on the market - EU Directive 995-2010 (PDF 19kb)
97a UN SIN or HazMat or HAZCHEM - Substance Identification Number (PDF 18kb)