Can Companies be 'Zero Waste' If They're Using Wood Shipping Pallets?

Recently, Ford promoted a new video on Facebook touting one of its U.S. facilities as "zero waste." At Change the Pallet, we love seeing leading companies take meaningful steps to reduce waste and carbon footprints. But we can't help but wonder: can any facility in the U.S. that allows its suppliers to deliver on wood pallets truly be "zero waste?”

Can any facility in the U.S. that allows its suppliers to deliver on wood pallets truly be “zero waste?”

For discussion's sake, let's say Ford's facility receives one million wood pallets per year. We know that the average wood pallet weighs ~40 pounds more than the average corrugated pallet. So, in this hypothetical, Ford's decision to allow suppliers to ship to their facility on wood pallets rather than corrugated has led to an added 40 million pounds of wood pallet weight.

Needlessly shipping an extra 40 million pounds of just pallet weight wastes gas and contributes added carbon emissions. For the record, scientists and officials refer to those as "Scope 3 emissions" and, yes, they count against your carbon footprint.

But the waste doesn't stop there. To remove one million wood pallets from Ford's facility requires some 25,000 trucks just to transport the pallets they no longer need! Conversely, corrugated pallets can go into the same recycling bins as those seen in Ford's "Zero Waste" video. 

Sustainability has come a long way in the last twenty years in corporate America, but it has a long way to go. There is nothing stopping Ford from directing its suppliers to ship to facilities and plants on recyclable, lightweight corrugated pallets. It just takes the will to act.

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