What is ISPM 15 and How are Plastic Pallets Affected?

When comparing the different types of pallets available in today’s logistics marketplace, one important consideration is IPPC’s ISPM 15 regulations. If this is the first time you’ve heard of these regulations, you may be wondering what ISPM 15 is, and how plastic pallets are affected by it.

What is IPPC?

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international treaty signed in 1951. It is a multilateral treaty overseen by the Food and Agriculture Organization focused on eliminating the spread of potential pests and diseases that can affect plants and plant products.

More than 100 countries are members of the IPPC and working together, they developed the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15 regulations that were implemented in March 2004.

What is ISPM 15?

ISPM 15 regulations require all wood packaging materials, including pallets, meet specific certification requirements in order to be used in shipping operations internationally. These regulations do not apply to those materials being shipped within the United States or to Canada, but do apply when shipping to other countries, including Mexico.

The Process Used for ISPM 15

The process to follow requirements for ISPM 15, for all non-manufactured wood packaging materials designated for export, including pallets, means they must be either heat treated or fumigated.

During the heat-treating process, wood is heated until its core temperature reaches 132.8 degrees (56 degrees Celsius) and is maintained for at least 30 minutes. This ensures all pests that could be harmful to forests and plants are destroyed. Fumigation techniques are also utilized, however heat treating is considered better for the environment.

Once treated, the wood is ready to use and can be exported and re-exported as long as none of the original components are replaced. Upon completion of the treatment, the pallet is marked with the international IPPC marking, showing the country of origin and the treatment method used.

Plastic Pallets Are Exempt

Plastic pallets, due to their composition and inability to host pests, are exempt from ISPM 15 regulations. Without the need for treatment, this is a cost-savings component in terms of both time and money, when it comes to production. These savings can be passed directly to the consumer.

This means when an order is placed for production of plastic pallets, there is no downtime between coming off the line and being packaged for shipping, unlike their wood counterparts that must undergo ISPM 15 treatment prior to export.

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Find Out More About Plastic Pallets

Plastic pallets are your answer to lighter, longer lasting pallets that are easier to store and clean. They have a lifespan up to 10 years and 250 trips, well above the 5-6 trips a wood pallet will see during its life.

To find out more about plastic pallets, their durability, and how they can save your logistics team time and money, contact Plastic Pallet Pros today.