Why do I need Heat-treated pallets?
Pallets must be treated to meet ISPM-15 (International Phytosanitary Measure) standards, which says that wood used to ship products internationally must be treated to prevent the spread of disease and bugs from country to country. Below, we’ve included the most common types of pallet treatment.
Heat treating pallets is mandated by U.S. customs and is the most common method of treatment to meet ISPM-15 standards.
When constructing pallets with green lumber, insects often live in the freshly cut wood. Heat treating pallets raises the temperature of the wood to dispose of any remaining bugs, which prevents them from spreading between companies and countries.
Heat treating prices vary, but typically it costs between $0.75 to $1.25 per pallet.
New wood pallets are often made from recently harvested trees, but before the lumber can be constructed into a pallet, it needs to be dried. To do this, the fresh lumber, or green lumber, can either be left outside to dry (air-dried) or placed into a kiln to dry (kiln-dried).
Kiln-drying will quickly reduce the moisture in the wood to prevent warping and reduce weight. It’s important to note that kiln-dried wood does not meet ISPM-15 standards and must still undergo heat treatment if used for international shipping.
How do I know if my pallets have been treated?
Once a pallet has been treated, a certification label (shown below) will be stamped onto the side of the pallet. If the pallet has been repaired with untreated wood, the entire pallet should be retreated and then restamped.
The stamp should include the appropriate treatment code to indicate how the pallet has been handled. See the infographic below from 1001 Pallets for a complete breakdown of the different treatment codes.