Campus Units

Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

2020

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Industrial Ecology

Research Focus Area(s)

​Operations Research

DOI

10.1111/jiec.12974

Abstract

Wooden and plastic pallets are used extensively in global trade to transport finished goods and products. This article compares the life cycle performance of treated wooden and plastic pallets through a detailed cradle‐to‐grave life cycle assessment (LCA), and conducts an analysis of the various phytosanitary treatments. The LCA investigates and evaluates the environmental impacts due to the resources consumed and emissions of the product throughout its life cycle. The environmental impacts of the pallets are compared on a one‐trip basis and a 100,000‐trips basis. Impact categories are chosen with respect to environmental concerns. The results show that on a one‐trip basis, wooden pallets with conventional and radio frequency (RF) heat treatment incur an overall carbon footprint of 71.8% and 80.3% lower, respectively, than plastic pallets during their life cycle; and in comparison with wooden pallets treated with methyl bromide fumigation, they incur 20% and 30% less overall carbon footprint. Theoretical calculations of the resource consumption and emissions of RF treatment of pallets suggest that dielectric technology may provide a lower‐carbon alternative to both current ISPM 15‐approved treatments and to plastic pallets. Methyl bromide fumigation (15.95 kg CO2 equivalent [eq.]) has a larger carbon footprint than conventional heat treatment (12.69 kg CO2 eq.) of pallets. For the 100,000‐trips basis, the differences are even more significant. The results recommend that wooden pallets are more environmentally friendly than plastic pallets, and conventional and RF heat treatment for wooden pallets is more sustainable than methyl bromide fumigation treatment.

Comments

This is the peer-reviewed version of the following article: Anil, Sebastian K., Junfeng Ma, Gül E. Kremer, Charles David Ray, and Shirin M. Shahidi. "Life cycle assessment comparison of wooden and plastic pallets in the grocery industry." Journal of Industrial Ecology, which has been published in final form at DOI:10.1111/jiec.12974. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Yale University

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Available for download on Sunday, January 31, 2021

Published Version

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