Improper stamping is a pressing issue in the American pallet manufacturing industry. Consider the following scenario: a pallet manufacturer sells a new product to their client with their stamp on it proving that the pallet has been properly heat treated and stored meeting the international standard. Once that pallet leaves the company’s warehouse it may move all over the United States being re-used domestically by different companies. Eventually, the pallet may end up at an international border. From the point of view of the original manufacturer, the pallet is no longer their responsibility, as their stamp is only valid in the hands of the original client for the original transaction. For regulatory bodies and international borders however, this situation can raise issues of concern. Since the original certification process, the pallet has typically moved throughout the supply chain in many geographic areas within the United States. There is no way of knowing where it has been or if it has been treated since the original transaction.
Based on the ALS current interpretation of ISPM15, all marks on a pallet must be obliterated and the pallet should then be re-stamped before it is recycled and re-used. Used domestically, it’s our opinion that stamps need not be obliterated on a recycled pallet, but in order to meet our obligations to the standard, our third party inspection requires obliteration. Unfortunately, there are those in the industry that don’t comply. Any recycled pallet being sent outside the United States must be ISPM-15 compliant, which means stamps obliterated, HT or MB applied and re-stamped. Failure to comply with the standard disrupts the entire system and has serious consequences environmentally and within the industry.
Proper Stamping as a Standard
Whether the pallet is brand new or being recycled, it should clearly display the ISPM15 regulatory number from the most recent distributor. When customers buy a pallet with a new stamp on it they can be sure they are buying from a reputable manufacturer within the program. Insuring companies comply with the program improves the industry by leveling the playing field and eliminating competitive disadvantages.
How Are Stamps Applied?
There are three methods of applying a stamp to a pallet. The stamp can either be burned on using a stencil, hand stamped using a traditional rubber stamp or a rolling stamp can be applied.
How Can You Tell if the Stamp is Legitimate?
According to ISPM15, “The markings must be within a rectangular border with a vertical line separating the IPPC logo (on the left) from the identifying data. The borderlines may be solid or broken; and the corners may be rounded”. Customers can assess the validity of the stamp on their pallet by inspecting the stamps on a regular basis.
How Can You Determine if You are Buying from a Reputable Manufacturer? Customers can now navigate the industry through the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association’s (NWPCA) brand new Industry Buyer’s Guide. As a part of Pallet Central magazine there is now a Buyer’s Guide section that lists all NWPCA Associate Members in addition to the online database available on the NWPCA website.
To find a reputable wood packaging material supplier outside of the United States who is complying to ISPM15 regulations, contact your National Plant Protection Organization representative.