Heat treated pallets have a range of useful applications. Since pallets are made from wood which is an organic material, they can potentially absorb and gather pests, insects, and other contaminants. Heat treatment for pallets is a necessary precaution to ensure that all shipments are safe for international travel. Heat treatment also protects the integrity of products being shipped.
Read on to learn about the benefits of heat treatment. Here’s everything you need to know about heat-treated pallets.
What Is Heat Treatment?
Heat treating involves heating materials to a specific temperature. The material is maintained at that temperature for a measured amount of time before being cooled at a specified rate. Heat treatment is used as a tool for the wood to obtain required properties for specific jobs, shipments, and uses.
Heat treatment is a process used to sanitize material developed by the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) to secure, prevent, and control the spread of plant pests. The heat treatment process ensures that the pallets are sanitized, safe, clean, and ready for the job.
What Are Heat Treated Pallets and How Was It Treated?
Heat-treated pallets go through a standard heat treatment that allows the material to be disinfected. In order to treat pallets and other wood packaging material, they are heated to a core temperature of 140 degrees.
The high temperature of the pallet is maintained for a minimum of thirty minutes to ensure that all unwanted contaminants are eliminated. Pallets are heat-treated to remove any insects and kill off larvae in the wood.
ISPM 15-Compliant Heat-Treated Wood Pallets
ISPM 15 stands for International Standards for Phyto-sanitary Measures No. 15 and applies to all wood products, wood packaging, wood pallets, and crates. Pallets in compliance with ISPM 15 have been heat-treated and are guaranteed safe for international shipments.
According to the standards of ISPM 15, all pallets must be treated for pests through one of the approved methods such as heat treating, fumigation, vacuuming, and steaming. Heat treatment is the best way for companies to ensure their products and shipment materials comply with ISPM 15.
Heat-Treated Wood Pallets vs. Plastic
Plastic pallets also have benefits for international shipping, such as not having to worry about whether they were heat-treated since plastic is not a good host for insects and pests. Plastic also does not retain moisture as well as wood.
However, the cost of polymer or plastic-based pallets can overshadow their benefits. Plastic pallets are also a burden on a company’s environmental footprint. With many enterprises becoming more conscious lately, green compliance is also something to consider. Wooden pallets are more cost-effective and, when heat treated, are as safe and sanitary as any plastic.
Why Do Pallets Need To Be Heat-Treated?
Pallets need to be heat-treated to ensure that they are safe to ship internationally. Heat treatment eliminates insects that can cause harm to foreign environments if spread through the pallet shipments. Companies can easily comply with international shipment requirements by working with heat-treated pallets.
While pallets can be decontaminated of pests in various ways, heat treatment is considered the more environmentally friendly alternative when compared to fumigation techniques.
Another benefit of heat-treated pallets is that they are free of potential fungi. Heat-treated pallets are free of possible contaminants that can harm the products being packaged and shipped – especially for food products.
How Do I Know if I have a Heat-Treated Pallet?
Pallets that have been heat-treated should have a particular stamp on the side of the wood. Look for the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) stand to determine if the pallets have been treated. If a pallet has been heat-treated, it should be marked with an “HT,” indicating that it was heat treated and did not come into contact with any chemicals during the process. Pallets marked with “MB” have likely come into contact with methyl bromide and should be avoided.
EPAL Pallets and Euro Pallets? Are Euro Pallets Heat-Treated?
Euro Pallets are also known as EPAL pallets. These particular pallets are the standard European pallet and specified by the European Pallet Association (EPAL). European standard pallets that comply with the national standardization are eligible for the EPP (The European Pallet Pool). The EPP is a system that allows shipments to exchange pallets for pallets.
Is a Pallet Made of Plywood and Composite Blocks Considered a Heat-Treated Pallet?
To put it simply: No. Pallets that are created from manufactured woods do not need to be treated. Manufactured wood pallets such as plywood pallets and OSB (oriented strand board) pallets do not need to be treated. Particleboards also will not require heat treatment.
While manufactured wood can be treated, it is unnecessary as any potential insects or pests are destroyed and eliminated during the manufacturing process. Rather than heat treatment, manufactured wood materials can be fumigated to ensure that they are free of any pests before shipments.
Does My Heat-Treated Pallet (HT) also have fungicides?
How do you know if your wooden pallets have been treated with pesticides and fungicides? As mentioned above, heat-treated pallets will bear the mark “HT,” which indicates heat treatment. Pallets with the “MB” mark have been treated with methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide.
While methyl bromide effectively eliminates insects and pests from the wood, it is also known to be linked to health problems in humans. Methyl bromide is also harmful to the earth’s environment and causes issues with the ozone layer.
Companies and manufacturers should avoid both the “MB” mark and unmarked pallets, which have likely been in contact with harmful chemicals.
Final Thoughts on Heat-Treated Pallets
There are many benefits to working with heat-treated pallets – especially for those who want to avoid fumigation or any contamination or infestation. Heat treatment is the most environmentally friendly way to ensure that all pallets, crates, and wood packaging material is safe and pest-free before traveling internationally.
Heat treatment protects both the products and the shipment from pests and allows companies to easily comply with necessary sanitation requirements for international shipments.