As 2011 begins, the packaging and pallet sector is facing intensifying competition from alternative materials, particularly plastics.

The wider timber community must be made aware of the serious impact of losing market share: timber takes over 95% of the UK pallet and packaging market and the latter accounts for almost two million m³ of substantially UK-sourced timber a year (25% of its sawn production total). No wonder plastic pallet makers are keen to promote their products.

When it comes to ensuring customers understand the overwhelming advantages of timber products, our work must be reinforced by those closest to the end users themselves: the manufacturers.

Do your customers know that every time they use a wooden pallet it reduces the carbon footprint of their business? Or that a timber pallet is four to six times less expensive than a plastic one? We all need to be conversant in facts such as these – and ensure we let people know about them as often as possible.

This call to action affects everyone who supplies and manufactures with wood. Resources and tools, including our carbon calculator and fact sheets, are available on the TIMCON website All you need do is use them. It’s a New Year’s resolution every timber trader should make.

John Dye