A “misguided upcycling” of wooden pallets could result in damage to the environment and more trees being cut down, one of Europe’s largest poolers of wooden packaging has warned.
Phil Storer, the UK & Ireland director of IPP, said fears about climate change and a desire to re-use and recycle existing products could have the opposite effect than that intended by green enthusiasts.
Storer, a packaging expert with more than 30 years’ experience, added environmentalists needed to be more discerning with what they upcycled into new products. More education was needed, he added.
“Social media sites, such as Pinterest, encourage upcycling unloved products, which is great,” said Storer, who coined the term ‘ECOnomics’ to describe the synchronicity between environmental protection and economic necessity in the circular economy.
“However, there’s a strong environmental caveat when it comes to wooden pallets because businesses like IPP pool or rent them to keep fmcg products moving though the supply chain as part of the circular economy. We need to extend their life through constant repair and repatriation so they are ready to go again.
“People who make things out of them break that cycle because they are confusing recycling and upcycling. By cutting a pallet’s life short, they are contributing to the need for cutting down more trees.
“However, rather than curbing their enthusiasm, we want them to be clear as to the provenance of the pallet to make sure it is not part of a pooling process. If it is past its useful life as a pallet, it can be repurposed or re-imagined, but only at that point.”
IPP, formerly known as Pooling Partners, provides pallet and box pooling services across Europe and is one of Europe’s largest producers of wooden pallets. The IPP pool is also one of the largest rental providers of pallets and boxes in fmcg and industrial supply chains across Europe.