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Suite of PepsiCo Brands to Eliminate Wood Pallets

qtg-logo2As soon as inventory of wood pallets has been exhausted, all products from PepsiCo.’s Gatorade, Quaker Foods and Tropicana business units will be shipped on plastic pallets.

As of April 1, Gatorade and Quaker will begin integrating recyclable plastic pallets with RFID-tracking chips, exclusively from iGPS, according to a press release. Tropicana begins the effort May 1.

In a letter PepsiCo sent to its customers March 20, the company touted the iGPS pallets as “fire-retardant, with a significantly lower burn index than wood pallets. iGPS pallets are fully edge rackable (2,800 lbs capacity) and 20 – 27 lbs. lighter than the average wood pooled pallet. If an iGPS pallet should become damaged, it will be remolded into new ones, making its useful life indefinite.”

Other companies are making pallet choice a part of their sustainability process. For instance, Cole’s Quality Foods has switched to reusable Chep pallets instead of one-way pallets.

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2 thoughts on “Suite of PepsiCo Brands to Eliminate Wood Pallets

  1. Wood to plastic??? Are you kidding me?! True, wood pallets are not recyclable, but plastic isn’t much better in terms of production and raw materials. They should be looking at Re-pallets from Natural Source- these are recyclable and repulpable. Could it be that the REAL reason Pepsi is moving to plastic is because they will be able to recover more pallets thus saving money, and NOT environmental concerns? I’m surprised they are not moving to the recyclable re-pallets.

  2. For all the green rhetoric being tossed around today by the manufacturers of plastic pallets about their sustainability and recyclable nature, the facts are still the facts. Wooden pallets made from the unusable trims of the lumbering process are greener, cleaner and more environmentally friendly by any measure.

    A recent press release was issued by a manufacturer of plastic pallets and it stated their desire to “be responsible stewards of the environment” and described their pallet as being “100% recyclable.” The real questions are: What does that truly mean from an environmental point of view? And can you be a responsible steward of the environment when your product is made from plastic?

    Putting all the greenwashing aside, when you follow the supply and manufacturing chain of a plastic pallet from oil well, to refinery, to oil tanker, to the plastic processing plant –and add up all the pollution and environmental stress that accumulates along the way, even something that ends up being “100% recyclable” doesn’t necessarily end up to be a champion of the environment. Nor does it take into account the long and often dirty history of any plastic product, recyclable or not, in the amount of pollution they contribute to the earth. The simple truth is, plastic, in any form, other than its possible color, isn’t green in any measurable degree.

    Consider the current controversy raging over plastic bottles and plastic bags. It’s grown so bad that many communities have begun to ban their use. Though that plastic, like the plastic that goes into plastic pallets, may be 100% recyclable, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a staggering 88% is not recycled and ends up in landfills instead. How much is that? More than 40 million bottles a day.

    Now consider the manufacturing facilities plastics are produced in. That’s another dirty little story waiting to be told. Among the 47 chemical plants ranked highest in carcinogenic emissions by the EPA, 35 are involved in plastic production. The long and short of it is just because a product can be recycled, doesn’t mean that it is environmentally conscious when you look at its history. Plastic, whether in bags, bottles or pallets is high on the enemies list of any environmentally-conscious group or person.

    To prove the point, the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a toxic island of garbage made up of 80% plastic and weighting more than 3.5 million tons, is currently floating in the Pacific between San Francisco and Hawaii. Right now it’s twice the size of Texas – and growing.

    Wooden pallets, on the other hand, have a story and a product that is sustainable. According to the EPA, when wood pallets reach the end of their useful life they can be converted into value-added products like wood flooring or replacement parts for other pallets.

    When a pallet is recycled in this way, it generates approximately $0.25 when sold as boiler fuel, $1.00 for replacement parts, and potentially $5.00 to $8.00 when processed into products such as flooring.

    The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and its partners are currently
    proving the technical and financial feasibility of reusing and recycling wooden
    pallets. They have already begun the first phase of a process to test reusing wood
    pallets as flooring and paneling. The pilot program will take a “negative-value” material
    and process it into a finished material with a $4.00 to $5.00 per square foot value and increase manufacturing jobs while it decreases waste.

    A win-win for the environment and all of us.

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