July 16, 2019 – UL has announced the publication of the first-ever Product Category Rules (PCR) for wooden pallets. The PCR may be used to benchmark the environmental impacts of wooden pallets, and sets a new precedent for life cycle assessments for pallets made from other materials.
Product Category Rules (PCRs) are a set of requirements and guidelines used for conducting and reporting environmental life cycle assessments of a particular category of products. The PCR evaluates environmental performance including aspects like carbon emissions, resource depletion and energy use, to name a few. PCRs ensure that products of the same function are evaluated consistently for a meaningful comparison of results via environmental product declarations (EPDs).
“Our members in the wooden packaging industry are dedicated to environmental issues. Using this PCR for wooden pallets, we can better understand and communicate the environmental impacts of wooden pallets over their lifecycle,” said Jordan Piland, NWPCA board chair and president of Atlas Pallets.
“At any given time, 1.8 billion wooden pallets are carrying goods across the U.S. alone. In light of their great volume and prevalence, this new PCR has tremendous opportunity to impact the environment by encouraging manufacturers of wooden pallets to understand the life cycle impacts of their products and ultimately implement changes to improve environmental performance,” said Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager for UL’s Environment division.
Because of all the different shapes, sizes and wood types used to manufacture wooden pallets, the PCR was developed to consider how many pallets are needed to deliver 100,000 pounds of goods. By building the assessment around a performance metric, pallets can be equally evaluated based on function.
The PCR was sponsored by the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Lab. The standard was finalized after a critical comment and review period by ISO and industry technical experts.
This PCR for wooden pallets is now a publicly available standard, and must be taken into consideration for developing EPDs for pallets made from other materials.