Roundup: USDA Confers 100% BioPreferred Status for PDS-Designed Wood Pallets, Block Pallet Benefits Identified in Study


Wood Pallets Manufactured Using PDS are ‘USDA Certified Biobased Products’

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred® Program and the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) have announced that all coated and uncoated wood pallets manufactured with NWPCA’s Pallet Design System™ (PDS) are now recognized by USDA’s BioPreferred® Program. Wood pallet manufacturers that use PDS may now affix a USDA Certified Biobased Product label to their PDS-made pallets showing they are 100% biobased products.

“Achieving certification for our PDS users confirms the strong environmental attributes of wood pallets and presents tremendous opportunities for our members,” said Brent McClendon, President and CEO of NWPCA. All Federal agencies and their contractors have a sustainable product acquisition mandate to purchase biobased products identified by USDA’s BioPreferred® program.

“Biobased certification for NWPCA members’ pallets is an important accomplishment in demonstrating the sustainability of wood products,” said Kate Lewis of USDA’s BioPreferred® Program.

“To receive product certification from USDA, pallets manufactured using PDS underwent third-party testing of multiple products,” said Lewis. “We’ve been able to verify the Pallet Design System™ meets the strict requirements of the BioPreferred® Program and allows all of NWPCA’s PDS-using membership into the program. Hundreds of companies are now partners in the Program and may begin labeling their pallets.”

McClendon added, “It is a tremendous honor for us that USDA has recognized the innovative aspects of our Pallet Design System™ and how incorporating durability into wood pallet design reduces our nation’s reliance on petroleum. The biobased label is an impactful way to show what our industry is made of.”

The BioPreferred® Program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded as part of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). The two major parts of the program are:

  • mandatory purchasing requirements for Federal agencies and their contractors; and,
  • a voluntary product certification and labeling initiative.

A product’s biobased content is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable carbon source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. Utilizing biobased materials displaces the need for non-renewable petroleum-based materials and plays an increasingly important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate global climate change.

Independent Block Pallet Study Identifies Dramatic Cost Savings Opportunities

According to an independent study conducted by The Poirier Group (TPG) in Canada, a single distribution center can save an estimated half million dollars every year simply by using block pallets instead of traditional Canadian pooled stringer pallets. The five-week study estimated total annual savings for a Sobeys warehouse location at $497,500, which included $441,100 in transportation savings and $56,400 savings in operational efficiency.

Lisa Vegso, PECO Pallet General Manager, Canada, said: “We are very pleased to have clear proof of what we knew already: using block pallets can lead to improved efficiencies and substantial cost savings throughout the supply chain. We hope this study helps more distributors throughout Canada and the U.S. to understand the significant benefits of using four-way block pallets like PECO.”

In April and May 2016, PECO Pallet hired The Poirier Group (TPG), a business consulting firm, to conduct a five-week independent study on block pallet utilization in a selected Sobeys distribution center. TPG conducted exploratory and fact-finding interviews at the Sobeys warehouse, collected data, and recorded their observations. TPG then analyzed the data and modeled potential annualized benefits in both time and cost savings. PECO Pallet funded the study and collaborated on the overall approach and timeline, but otherwise had no involvement during the evaluation process.

The most dramatic cost savings were related to transportation efficiency. The average weight of a typical Canadian pooled stringer pallet is 90 pounds, versus 65 pounds for a PECO or similar block pallet. TPG calculated the additional fuel costs that are incurred for transporting the additional weight of stringer pallets. Even more significant savings were identified due to the increased cube utilization possible with four-way block pallets. With stringer pallets, the average number of pallets per load is between 24 and 28. Block pallets allow for up to 30 pallets to be loaded on the floor of the trailer. The combined transportation savings from increasing the cube and reducing pallet weight was estimated at $441,100 per year.

Additional cost savings were identified in operational efficiency. At the Sobeys warehouse, researchers observed that stringer pallets cause issues and delays during loading. While the true four-way entry of a block pallet enables easy access and the ability to pinwheel with a standard pallet jack, stringer pallets require the use of dock stockers, which leads to additional capital and equipment maintenance costs. The total estimated savings in operational efficiency from using block pallets instead of stringer pallets was estimated at $56,400.

To read an overview of the TPG Block Pallet Utilization study, go to


America Recycles Day Illustrates the Many Economic and Environmental Benefits of the Recycling Industry

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) celebrates America Recycles Day today by applauding all individuals who make a strong effort to recycle as part of daily life, and encouraging all to learn more about recycling and the industry. America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful, takes place every November 15 in an effort to promote and celebrate recycling in the U.S.

“Each year America Recycles Day provides us with an important reminder not only of the need to recycle, but also the positive impact the recycling industry has on the environment, energy savings, and the economy,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI.”

Recycling is the first link in the manufacturing supply chain. Just last year, the U.S. recycling industry transformed more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber, and electronics into specification grade commodities for use in new products.

While 70 percent of the recycled commodities processed last year in the United States was consumed at home, the global scrap market also provides a useful outlet for our nation’s excess scrap supply. U.S. export sales of recycled scrap significantly benefit the U.S. trade balance. In 2015, the United States exported more than 37 million metric tons of scrap commodities, valued at $17.5 billion. In fact, since 2000, net exports of United States scrap have made a positive contribution to our balance of trade amounting to more than $210 billion.

Recycling facilities provide jobs all across the country. In fact, last year the U.S. scrap recycling industry directly and indirectly supplied more than 470,000 Americans with employment. These workers earned $30.8 billion in wages and benefits. The industry paid $11.2 billion in direct federal, state, and local taxes.

Recycling conserves our limited natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build, and use every day. The energy saved by recycling may then be used for other purposes, such as heating our homes and powering our automobiles.


EQT Infrastructure II to acquire CHEP Aerospace Solutions from Brambles

Brambles, the global supply-chain logistics provider and parent company of CHEP Aerospace Solutions, has announced an agreement to divest CHEP Aerospace Solutions, the Group’s unit load device (ULD) pooling, management, maintenance and repair provider for the aviation industry, to EQT Infrastructure II (“EQT Infrastructure” or “EQT”), a leading infrastructure fund. The transaction will complete during November 2016.

Brambles formed CHEP Aerospace Solutions in 2011 following the acquisition and integration of a number of prominent ULD solutions companies. Through subsequent acquisitions and Brambles’ asset management expertise, CHEP Aerospace Solutions has grown to become the global leader in pooling, management, maintenance and repair of ULDs used for the transportation of luggage and cargo in the airline passenger and air cargo industry. Today, the business owns and manages approximately 100,000 ULDs, and serves more than 90 airlines across a network of 48 global services centers and 420 airports, supported by over 550 expert team members. EQT Infrastructure will support the continued development of CHEP Aerospace Solutions and will actively assist the Company in capturing new growth opportunities.

The Company will retain its headquarters in Switzerland, along with regional operations centers in the United Kingdom, Thailand and the USA and global service centers in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas. At an appropriate time following the completion of the acquisition by EQT, CHEP Aerospace Solutions will be rebranded to have its own unique identity.

CHEP Aerospace Solutions President, Dr. Ludwig Bertsch, said: “We would like to place on record our thanks to the Brambles team whose support and expertise has enabled us to develop the world’s leading ULD management network. We are excited to join EQT Infrastructure, one of the world’s most respected infrastructure funds, which combines the very best people with the industry expertise in infrastructure management that will allow us to continue to grow and provide smarter solutions and unparalleled customer service to the aviation industry.”

Ulrich Köllensperger, Director at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT Infrastructure, said: “CHEP Aerospace Solutions provides critical infrastructure and services to the aviation industry and fits well with the EQT Infrastructure strategy of investing in medium sized operating infrastructure companies with opportunities for additional growth and development. The Company has a proven business model, an impressive customer base and a promising pipeline of prospective airline clients. The industrial board of directors including senior leaders with aviation expertise will support CHEP Aerospace Solutions in growing its asset base and offer pooling, management, maintenance and repair to more airlines globally.”

Tom Gorman, CEO of Brambles, said: “The launch of CHEP Aerospace Solutions in 2011 was part of Brambles’ strategy of leveraging its asset management and supply chain expertise to deliver value to customers across new industry verticals. Over the past five years, we have built a highly successful global business that now partners many of the world’s leading airlines. We are confident that the future growth of the Aerospace business will be well served under the ownership of EQT Infrastructure which has a dedicated focus on infrastructure and related services, with a proven track record of success. On behalf of everyone at Brambles, I would like to thank the CHEP Aerospace Solutions team for their commitment to becoming the industry-leaders they are today and we wish them every success for the future.”