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Issue Brief: Oregon Initiative - Corrugated Cardboard Pallets
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Corrugated cardboard Pallets Fail Oregon State Tests

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) evaluated the viability of a pilot program using corrugated cardboard pallets.

An extensive taxpayer-funded study concluded the program as proposed by a corrugated pallet manufacturer would increase the department’s costs, endanger safety, and would hurt supply chain and storage operations.

Below are related links:

  • Read the Oregon DOC Report (Feb. 2017)
  • Read "OSHA: Safe Pallet & Material Handling Solutions" (August 2018) 
  • Read "Wood and Cardboard - Mainstream and Niches" (Feb. 2018)
  • Read Oregon HR 4089 
  • NWPCA Written Testimony
  • Northwest Grocery Association Opposes Corrugated Purchasing Preference
  • Download Talking Points: Comparing Wooden Pallets and Cardboard Pallets 


    Wooden pallets and corrugated cardboard pallets both have roles to play in shipping goods around the world. But arguments that cardboard pallets are more environmentally friendly, more safe or more versatile fall flat.


    • Wooden pallets are the best option environmentally. It’s true that cardboard pallets are lighter than wooden pallets. But the life-cycle carbon footprint of a pallet is about a lot more than weight.
    • The carbon footprint of manufacturing a cardboard pallet can be five to ten times larger than manufacturing a comparable wooden pallet.
    • A wooden pallet requires fewer chemicals to produce than a cardboard pallet.
    • Wooden pallets last longer than cardboard pallets, especially when exposed to the elements. That means fewer of them need to be manufactured, saving energy.
    • And the vast majority of wooden pallets are reused or recycled.


    • Wooden pallets are used for a wide range of products. They’re a flexible option that can handle complex needs, such as very heavy or irregularly shaped shipments.
    • Wooden pallets are suitable for a wide range of environmental conditions. In contrast, cardboard pallets lose strength when exposed to moisture, and naturally lose strength over time. This can raise questions for worker safety.
    • Wooden pallets can handle a wide range of support and racking conditions. Wooden pallets can handle stacking; cardboard pallets often cannot.
    • Supply Chain Logistics is a complicated and intricate national web of distribution centers, trucking and warehouse hubs that span the country. Even a small untested change could be disastrous to human life and safety at the speed of movement of goods from manufacturer to retailer to customer. 

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