National Wooden Pallet and Container Association Say Environmental Principles of National Forest Foundation President are for Sale

According to National Wooden Pallet and Container Association, the principles of the president of the National Forest Foundation (NFF) Bill Possiel are clearly for sale to the highest donor. The evidence of this is his recent misinformation campaign promoting the use of plastic pallets over wood on behalf of recent contributor Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS).

"Of all the hardwood logged in the United States, 40 percent is used for pallets which are frequently used only once and then landfilled. Wood pallets are heavy, bulky, and increase shipping costs and energy used in transportation," said NFF President Bill Possiel. "We are proud to work with iGPS to restore our forests and reduce demand for hardwood species, which sequester carbon and provide many other ecosystem benefits." - Reuters, October 7, 2008

The iGPS company has said it will make a contribution to the NFF every time an iGPS pallet is rented over the next two years. That means the more plastic that is unleashed into the environment, the more money for the NFF. They are doing this to offset the damage plastic inflicts on the environment.

Contrast the environmental impact of plastic pallets with wood.

Carbon sequestration is the process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, branches, foliage, and roots) and soils. Carbon sequestration in forests and wood products helps offset fossil fuel emissions, one of the key drivers of human-induced climate change.

Sustainable forestry practices can increase the ability of forests to sequester additional atmospheric carbon while enhancing other ecosystem services, such as improved soil and water quality. Planting trees, restoring forested ecosystems, and improving forest health are some of the ways to increase forest carbon. Harvesting and regenerating forests can also result in net carbon sequestration in wood products and new forest growth. Investing in forest carbon sequestration projects is a cost-effective way to complement corporate greenhouse gas reductions or allowance purchases.

USDA Forest Service

In other words, while plastic pallets need a carbon offset to mitigate the injury imposed by their product, wood pallets are the offset!

Mr. Possiel's devotion to the organization's bank account over conviction appears to be immense since he not only commended the plastic product corporation, but in so doing he used half-truths and outright falsehoods against the far more environmentally favorable wood pallet industry.

Half-Truth: "Of all the hardwood logged in the United States, 40 percent is used for pallets..."
That is true, but what he failed to add is the fact that wood pallets are a byproduct using wood that is rejected by housing and furniture makers for aesthetic reasons yet strong and durable enough for transport and shipping platforms. If the plastic pallet industry were to gain the market advantage they seek, the wood currently used for wood pallets would become wood waste.

Falsehood: Mr. Possiel said that wood pallets are frequently used only once and then landfilled. There are more than 1.2 billion pallets in service in the United States each day. They are collected, sorted, repaired and returned to service by the largest pallet pool in the world. That pool is comprised of more than 5,000 independently owned and operated white wood pallet companies across the country. It is an informal pool, yet awe-inspiring in its efficiency.
With wood pallets comprising 83% of the market, they are recognized throughout the supply chain as a commodity far too valuable to simply discard as refuse. Pallets are bought by shippers, sold to recyclers by retailers, repaired and resold to shippers. That cycle occurs over-and-over.

Falsehood: When pallets can no longer be repaired to a standard that will ensure protection of the goods being shipped and safety of workers handling the load, the pallets are recycled into new products. Those products include landscape mulch, animal bedding, boiler fuel, firewood, and wood stove pellets. The nails from ground pallet chips are removed through a variety of collection technologies and sold as scrap metal to be used again.
If a random pallet does end up at a solid waste management facility it is "repurposed" into such things as wood mulch or energy -- it does not go into landfill (source: National Solid Wastes Management Association). The wood pallet has value that is used from cradle to grave.

Mr. Possiel also failed to address the fact that the business model and success of companies like iGPS depend upon the infrastructure of independent wood pallet recyclers who collect, sort and return the pallets. If these wood recycling companies were to go out of business, plastic pallets would become one-way pallets unless iGPS and other pallet management firms were to purchase, maintain and fuel trucks and facilities around the country dedicated to pallet collection. Obviously this would skyrocket the cost of these already exorbitant plastic pallets.

Mr. Possiel is not serving the interests of the NFF when he allows himself to become the mouthpiece of iGPS. As the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." The facts clearly support wood pallets as the environmental choice.

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