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Resources:  WHAT IS ISPM-15?

In 2002, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) passed the ISPM-15, a resolution that seeks to protect the environment by imposing protective measures on all wood-based packaging materials used in international shipping. ISPM stands for International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures; it’s goal is clear to save the environment from the damaging effects a foreign pest can produce on an indigenous landscape. ISPM-15 states, Wood packaging material made of unprocessed raw wood is a pathway for the introduction and spread of pests. Because the origin of wood packaging material is often difficult to determine, globally approved measures the significantly reduce the risk of pest spread are needed. In order to protect the environment, the IPPC made heat-treating pallets a necessity, but what, exactly, are the packaging requirements ISPM-15 makes necessary?

First of all, ISPM-15 states that all heat-treated pallets bear an internationally known mark denoting them as treated. All unmarked wood must be destroyed. Of course, not all wood is required by the IPPC to undergo treatment only raw wood in which pests could survive. Therefore, any packaging made of wood-based materials, such as plywood or particle board, that has undergone heat and pressure in its creation is considered safe and thus treatment is not required.

Mostly, ISPM-15 targets those wood-based packaging materials made from the raw wood of coniferous and non-coniferous trees. These materials must be heat-treated according to the standards set by the IPPC and clearly marked as such; otherwise, they must be disposed of in the manner required by the IPPC. According to ISPM-15, in order to be deemed pest-free, wood packaging material should be heat-treated (denoted by HT) with a minimum wood-core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum of thirty minutes. After the packaging material has been sufficiently treated, it must be marked with the specific sign of the IPPC, as well as with the country code and a number distributed to those in charge of ensuring treatment is carried out correctly.

Should a palette without the correct markings (and therefore without the correct treatment) be used, the packaging material must be destroyed in accordance with the specifications set forth in ISPM-15. The pallets must either be burned, buried in a hole exceeding one meter in depth, or immediately processed according to the aforementioned IPPC standards. Furthermore, countries receiving materials shipped on incorrectly marked or insufficiently treated packaging materials may refuse to accept the shipment. The IPPC's goals are clear to protect the environment from pests infiltrating and destroying indigenous habitats. By enforcing the regulations set forth in the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure 15, wood-packaging plants help to keep the Earth in balance, protecting our environment.

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