Pallet Rhetoric Waxes Thin: Time to Move Forward

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had enough of butter analogies to clog an artery in the wake of the  press release about butter contamination issued by NWCPA following a University of Texas (UT) School of Public Health study, and the lawsuit against NWPCA subsequently launched by iGPS.

It was interesting to see the tone of press thinking. coverage gave significant coverage to NWPCA’s Bruce Scholnick who called the suit a “distraction” from the real issue of phasing out decaBDE. I don’t necessarily agree with the way Bruce put together his press release, but I do agree with Bruce that it is a distraction.

The coverage in the Dallas Observer featured an interview with the thoughtful Ralph Rupert of Virginia Tech, and provided be a well-balanced treatment of the debate. Ralph suggested that the NWPCA press release may have been retaliatory. Do you think? While iGPS used 3rd party labs to analyze pallets for bacteria in some of its earlier maneuvers, its sampling methodology seemed a little less scientific, and to me, to unintentionally make a compelling case for the dangers of poor handling and storage practices rather than against wood as a material. We should be thankful…I guess.

Some coverage, such as that from The Packer, seemed more sympathetic to the iGPS case in generally following the tone of their lawsuit release.

Veteran material handling trade jouralist Tom Andel cautioned readers to separate fact from truth in his his piece entitled Greasing the Skids for a Butter Battle.

To slightly change gears, I listened to a presentation last week where it was said that customers largely no longer believe environmental claims made by packaging companies due to the non-standardized approaches they take to assessing environmental impact of their products for their own benefit. Bias is the word I’m trying to spit out. There is so much “greenwashing” going on that environmental claims are increasingly approached with skepticism by customers.  I believe we are approaching a similar point for pallets, where customers want something more scientifically compelling than claims from either iGPS or NWPCA.

Having bottomed out on credibility, maybe now we can collectively get on with the task of eliminating the deca, promoting great handling practices, adding value, and absolutely guaranteeing a food safe platform. Merry Christmas, everyone.


  1. Rick:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It really seems senseless to continue these types of attacks, rather we should be focusing on if there is a real problem, solving that problem and moving along. Trying to claim on system is superior to another is not the way to go. Selling based on the customers needs and expectations is all that is important. Each product has its advantages and disadvantages. No system is entirely 100% right for every situation. We really need to focus our attention and our customer’s attention on what’s important. We need to have the science to back up what we claim, and we all need to work together to insure that all products are delivered efficiently and safely to the end user. I hope in the New Year we can focus our attention on what’s really important in the transport packaging sector and tone down the rhetoric. I hope you continue your efforts to promote the important benefits or all the products in the marketplace that are there to serve the needs of the customer.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.