A “Carbon Footprint” is a measure of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a wide variety of activities and products. The main reason to calculate the carbon footprint of your supply chain is to lower the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere.
Given that wood pallets represent a significant part of the supply chain for many manufacturers, managing the carbon emissions associated with their pallets is an important opportunity to mitigate climate change.
Wood products from sustainable forests have a negative carbon footprint. In other words, wood products store carbon. Even if the wood is cut down but not destroyed, the carbon that was fixed by photosynthesis would act as a long-term carbon store. A negative carbon footprint is ideal for your supply chain. The emissions associated with harvesting, transporting, and processing of the wood products are small compared with the total amount of carbon stored in the wood itself.
As a tree grows it will “fix” the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as carbon within the tree itself. When a tree decays and dies it releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. A tree performs carbon storage for human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. Over the last two hundred years, about two thirds of all human induced carbon emissions have come from the burning of fossil fuels and another one third of the emissions came from land usage changes like agricultural expansion and deforestation.
In the United States, deforestation is caused by urban sprawl, the growth of agriculture, timber harvest, diseases, and fires. Before the mid-20th Century, the United States went through a period of intense deforestation, but since then the size of U.S. forest areas has been relatively stable. Deforestation is offset by reforestation through planting projects, timber harvest, and natural regeneration.
Your choice of pallets can help to reduce the carbon emissions of your supply chain. An industry wide shift in pallet usage could result in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions on par with emissions from about one million U.S. households.
In 2000, about 450 million shipping pallets were produced in the United States with 1.9 billion in circulation. To construct these pallets, about 100 million cubic meters of softwood lumber and 4.3 million cubic meters of hardwood lumber were consumed. Typically, between 30% to 40% of the annual U.S. hardwood lumber production is used to make crates & pallets.
One of the key characteristics that influences carbon emissions associated with pallet usage is weight. The lighter the pallet the better. Light weight pallets require less fuel during multiple transportation stops, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Pallets LLC’s GreenBlock Pallet can help lower the carbon footprint for many corporate supply chains. When comparing the GreenBlock Pallet to the standard GMA wood pallet the benefits are significant;
What makes the GreenBlock Pallet revolutionary is its light-weight, polypropylene leg. The leg is both made from recycled materials and it is recyclable. Using recycled polypropylene to manufacture the GreenBlock’s plastic legs dramatically reduces the total embodied energy and the carbon emissions. GreenBlock’s plastic legs can be recycled into many non-food applications, i.e., shipping containers, industrial parts, janitorial products, and lawn items.
One of the best ways to lower the carbon footprint of your supply chain is to use lighter weight pallets. Pallets LLC’s GreenBlock Pallet weighs half of a standard GMA pallet and uses less than half the wood. GreenBlock would reduce the amount of fuel used across the entire distribution chain. Pallet manufacturers would need less wood per pallet from their lumber suppliers so less wood would be cut and transported. Pallet manufacturers would be able ship more pallets per truckload because with GreenBlock you can more than double the number of pallets shipped per truckload. Product manufacturers would save fuel by shipping their products on lighter pallets. Also, warehouses and distribution centers would cut their fuel consumption using GreenBlock Pallets.