Focus on: Microbial load on used pallets
A recent study supports the pro-wood arguments when it comes to materials. Between February 2018 and December 2019 the independent Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden studied the microbial properties of standard EPAL Europallets compared to H1 plastic pallets in the laboratory.*** As per regular practise in the transport industry only used load carriers were examined, in particular pallet types of all qualities available on the market. The test specimens were received from retailers and removed from the regular load carrier cycle and were not cleaned before the certified test procedure took place.
The scientists focused on the germs Escherichia coli (a bacterium that indicates faecal matter) and Staphylococcus aureus (one of the most common infectious agents with multi-resistant forms). The study put particular emphasis on the rough surface of wooden pallets as a supposed weak point. The team was able to prove that the natural properties of wood actually counteract the growth of micro-organisms in a measurable way, while worn, rough spots on used plastic pallets provide an ideal breeding ground. Under the conditions stated, wooden pallets deliver an anti-bacterial activity that is 13 times higher than that of H1 plastic pallets.
*** The hygiene study was commissioned by Gütegemeinschaft Paletten e. V. , which – as the German National Committee of the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) – is responsible for assuring the quality of EPAL pallets and EPAL box pallets in Germany. You can look up the entire final study report online at: