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March-April-2018

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ver the past year and a half, NWPCA has been engaging with Virginia Tech and the USDA Forest Service on two cooperative research projects, with the aim of collecting survey data related to the wooden pallet industry (Industry Market Survey), as well as the prevalence and disposal of wood pallets at landfill sites (Landfill Avoidance Survey). Both projects have been performed in the past, providing an opportunity to analyze the results in a historical context. Researchers from Virginia Tech presented the results of the two studies during the NWPCA 2018 Annual Leadership Conference in March. In this article, we'll summarize the major findings of the studies. The results of these studies will be submitted to peer reviewed journals for publication, and NWPCA will be informing PalletCentral readers of their availability for reference. Industry Market Survey The industry market study surveyed both manufacturers and recyclers of wood pallets, as well as brokers, asking several questions related to production, material usage, and other business practices related to the 2016 fiscal year. The size of the overall industry shows that an estimated 849 million pallets (508 million new and 341 million recycled) were produced in 2016. In comparison to 2011 (the last year of recorded data), these estimations represent a 14% growth in overall production, with a 22% and 5% growth in new and recycled production, respectively. These numbers reflect the continued growth that has occurred through the years as the economy continues to pick up after the 2008 downturn. O COVER STORY Studies Show a Whopping Ninety-Five Percent of Wooden Pallets are Recycled By Laszlo Horvath, PhD, Brad Gething, PhD, and Phil Araman 12 PalletCentral • March-April 2018 palletcentral.com of Pallets The Extraordinary Life Cycle iStockphoto.com/Nostal6ie

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