What Do The Markings On Pallets Mean?
Pallets are a surprisingly good source of cheap timber for all kinds of DIY projects. But before you even start to think about looking for pallets for your DIY project, consider if the pallets you have found in that skip down the road is safe for your project.
Before you even pick up that perfect pallet, you may just want to check it over. Here are a few pointers to take a look at first. For reusing purposes, look for pallets stamped with an “HT”, which means they haven’t been exposed to chemicals (at least not in the treating process.) Avoid unmarked pallets or those with “MB” for methyl bromide.
**Visually inspect the entire pallet before you even think about picking it up to use!**
Whether you are about to begin a project using pallets or are just utilizing it for firewood, there is a couple of important pointers you must be aware of. Some pallets have symbols and codes which follow the ISPM15 Packaging Marking System. Some pallets will have no markings at all.
What If There Are No Markings On The Pallet?
If there is no stamp or code on it, it is considered a “national pallet” and has not been treated. As long as nothing has been spilled on it and you can be sure of the source it should be safe to use. National pallets are used for domestic transport within your country.
International Wood Pallets
The stamp will include the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) symbol. Generally the code will include the manufacturers 2 digit country code such as GB (Great Britain) followed by a company Registration Code. A 2 digit treatment code will also be included such as HT, KD, DB or MB.
Two Digit Treatment Codes
HT (Heat Treated) – Heated to remove parasites and are not harmful.
MB (Methyl Bromide) – Treated with toxic Methyl Bromide. Studies in humans indicate that the lung may be severely injured by the acute (short-term) inhalation of methyl bromide. DON’T USE
DB (Debarked) – The tree’s bark has been removed and is not harmful.
KD (Kiln Dried) – Heat Treatment designed to reduce moisture and are not harmful.
EPAL (European Pallet Association) – EURO are un-treated and are safe to use.
Why Are Wood Pallets Treated?
Treating the pallets is designed to reduce the spread of pests within the wood and to decrease the growth of fungi or mold and other organic matter which may be harmful. It is also designed to lengthen the overall lifespan of the pallet.
What Is Heat Treatment?
The wood is heated to 56 degrees C for around half an hour. No chemicals are used in the process which means that the wood is safe to use as firewood or for DIY projects around your home or business.
What Is Methyl Bromide (MB)?
Methyl Bromide is used to keep insects, weeds and pathogens under control. Even though no longer used in the UK or EU it is still used in other countries and older pallets treated in this way will still be in circulation. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Methyl Bromide has been linked to Ozone depletion and is very toxic. If you do come across pallets treated in this way you should avoid where possible and definitely not use as firewood or on any projects indoors.
What About The Different Colored Pallets?
Bright Colors – Colored pallets are pretty, but there’s a very good chance they were used to ship toxic chemicals. Stay Far Away!
Blue – Blue pallets with the word CHEP (commonwealth handling equipment pool) are the property of this company.
Red – Red pallets are from LPR (la palette rouge). LPR pallets comply with hygiene regulations applying in the food sector and are reserved strictly for the FMCG sector, in order to avoid any risk of contamination.
Brown – Brown pallets are from IPP (formerly El Palet Verde). These are typically rented and legally belong to the company. We strongly advise you leave these pallets alone especially if you consider that the paint is classed as treated by waste management companies.
If you are unsure about where you sourced your pallet from, rest assured, there are plenty more out there, better suited for what you are going to use it for.
Pallets In Phoenix
Pallets can be used for many different DIY projects. There really is no limit to what you can build. You are only held back by your inventiveness.
Whether you’re looking for used or new pallets for your next weekend project AAA Pallets has you covered.