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How to Choose a Safe Pallet for Your Purposes

When you need wood pallets for shipping, you might not think about the kind of wood you’re using. However, not all pallets are created equal. In fact, some pallets can prove downright dangerous if used in the wrong contexts.

So how do you know if your pallets are safe for your purposes? Use these tips to decipher the stamped marks on wooden pallets and sort out which ones are safe for use.

What Pallet Marks Mean

If you look on the side of a wooden pallet, you’ll see several stamps. These marks tell you important information about the product.


Stamped on the side of your wooden pallets, you should see a symbol made of on straight line with several diagonal lines branching off it, along with the letters IPPC. IPPC stands for the International Plant Protection Convention. This stamp means that the wood has been properly treated before use.

However, this stamp doesn’t mean the manufacturers used safe chemicals. You will still want to examine the other marks before you proceed.

Country Code

One of the stamps on your pallets should be letters followed by a dash and then more letters and numbers. The first letters in this series are the country code. For example, if the pallet is from Canada, the letters will be CA. Similarly, the letters will be US for the United States and GB for Great Britain.

The country code matters because it can give you some idea of the pallet’s origin. You might not want a pallet from a place that’s known to use unsafe production methods.

Registration Number

The letters following the country code form the pallet’s registration number. This number dictates where the wood came from. Although this might be useful to manufacturers, the registration won’t tell you much about the pallet itself.

Treatment Code

Most important to your purposes is the treatment code. This code is made up of two letters. You might also see two letters, a dash, and two more letters. Especially if the pallet carries an IPPC logo, the letters will be:

  • DB—de-barked

  • HT—heat treated

  • MB—methyl bromide

Methyl bromide is a chemical agent used to fumigate pallets before they ship internationally. However, this substance can prove dangerous for people. You want the pallets marked HT, for heat treated.Optional Information

Aside from the above information, you might see other stamps on the pallet. These will usually be things like the Forestry Commission logo or the lot number for where the pallet came from.

How to Identify Safe Pallets

You can easily avoid potentially dangerous-pallets if you follow some basic guidelines.

Avoid Coloured Pallets

When you think coloured pallets, think bright blue or red. These pallets usually belong to companies who rent them out and then reclaim them after shipment. If you take these pallets for your own use, you might have to face repossession specialists who come looking for them later. If you paid for the pallets, you might get some of your money back. However, it’s best to just avoid them in the first place.

Look for Canadian Pallets

Canadian pallets are often considered some of the best and cleanest pallets you can find. This is because Canada has strict laws regarding treatments and uses heat treatment exclusively. You don’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals on Canadian pallets that could seep into your product or your skin.

You’ll know a pallet is from Canada if you see the country code CA on the stamp. Those two letters will be enough to tell you the pallet is clear of chemicals.

Avoid Soiled Pallets

If you buy pallets used, you might run across some that look a little worse for the wear. You should avoid pallets that look dirty, or are coated with oily substances. You don’t know what spilled on the wood and how these compounds could affect your product or your environment.

Look for clean, new-looking pallets made from fresh or refurbished wood. Many companies, such as packing services, make pallets in-house from high-quality lumber.

Customize Pallets for Your Purpose

If you need pallets to ship specialized products, don’t rely on the standard. Look for a company in your area that can customize the pallets for your use. When you order pallets from a custom company, you have the added benefit of knowing your pallets origin and controlling the types of treatments they use. Many companies will be able to ensure the quality of their materials and make a pallet to fit your individual specifications.

While custom wood pallets made with reliable materials can help strengthen your business and enhance your favorite craft projects, pallets from suspicious sources treated with dangerous chemicals can prove hazardous to your health. Use these tips to make sure your pallets are good enough to ship. To order wood pallets in Mississauga, contact Pack-All International today.


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