A “Carbon Footprint” is a measure of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a wide variety of activities and products. The main reason to calculate the carbon footprint of your supply chain is to lower the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere.
Wood pallets represent a significant part of the supply chain for many manufacturers, and managing the carbon emissions associated with their pallets is an important opportunity to mitigate climate change.
Wood products from sustainable forests have a negative carbon footprint. In other words, wood products store carbon. Even if the wood is cut down but not destroyed, the carbon that was fixed by photosynthesis acts as a long-term carbon store. A negative carbon footprint is ideal for your supply chain. The emissions associated with harvesting, transporting, and processing of the wood products are small compared with the total amount of carbon stored in the wood itself.
As a tree grows it will “fix” the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as carbon within the tree itself. When a tree decays and dies it releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. A tree performs carbon storage for human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. Over the last two hundred years, about two thirds of all human induced carbon emissions have come from the burning of fossil fuels and another one third of the emissions have come from changes in land usage such as agricultural expansion and deforestation.
In the United States, deforestation is caused by urban sprawl, the growth of agriculture, timber harvest, diseases, and fires. Before the mid-20th century, the United States went through a period of intense deforestation, but since then the size of U.S. forested areas has been relatively stable. Deforestation is offset by reforestation through planting projects and natural regeneration.
Your choice of pallets can help to reduce the carbon emissions of your supply chain. An industry-wide shift in pallet usage could result in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions on par with emissions from about one million U.S. households.
In 2018, approximately 450 million shipping pallets were produced in the United States, and 1.9 billion were in circulation. To construct these pallets, about 100 million cubic meters of softwood lumber and 4.3 million cubic meters of hardwood lumber were consumed. Typically, between 30% to 40% of the annual U.S. hardwood lumber production is used to make crates & pallets.
Weight is one of the key characteristics that influences the carbon emissions associated with pallet usage. The lighter the pallet, the better. Light-weight pallets require less fuel during multiple transportation stops, significantly reducing carbon emissions.
What makes the GreenBlock Pallet revolutionary is the nine sustainable, light-weight agricultural, fiber blocks that are used to replace nine heavy wood blocks. Using these agricultural by-products in GreenBlock reduces the amount of wood used to make a pallet. This change dramatically reduces the total embodied energy and the carbon emissions of the pallet. GreenBlock is a sustainable, durable, and high-quality replacement that dramatically lowers the carbon footprint of our pallets.