The organisation, together with other wood product associations, have been campaigning for a reuse initiative with two central aims: to maximise the reuse of wooden pallets and packaging in supply chains and support the development of a circular economy.

The Scottish government this week cancelled its target of reducing greenhouse gases by 75% by 2030, having missed eight of its last 12 annual climate goals. It is the latest organisation to soften flagship environmental objectives, with both the Conservative and Labour parties having made U-turns on key policies in the past year.

TIMCON president John Dye said incentivising reuse was now a must to help maintaining progress towards net zero and sending out the positive messages to the UK public. 

TIMCON has collaborated with other wood-based sectors and submitted a proposal to Defra to introduce a workable reuse framework as part of a Proposed Reuse Incentive Scheme document. The document has two goals: to maximise the number of times wooden packaging is reused before, ultimately, it is recycled; and to increase the use of wooden transport tools – including pallets, cases, crates, cable reels, and so on – in domestic and international supply chains.

The reuse framework includes information on how reuse should be incentivised, measured, and recorded; how supply chain users can recognise a reuseable pallet; how to ensure pallets are recycled at the end of their useful life; where obligations for reuse lie; and several other recommendations.

“In our proposed Reuse Incentive Scheme we have set out a workable framework for reusing wooden pallets and packaging and shown how this can be implemented,” said Mr Dye. “We are strongly recommending that government progresses this straightforward, easy-to-implement initiative to support its plans to reduce greenhouse gases by 100% by 2050.

“Our recent discussions with Defra on when and how such a scheme can be implemented have been extremely positive.

“Wood packaging material (WPM) manufacturing and repair businesses are inherently founded on principles of circularity. They manufacture products from sustainably managed trees, which means for every one that is harvested, more are grown in their place.

“They then repair and reuse pallets until they are ready to be recycled into other products – from chipboard to animal bedding. Their business model is sustainable from start to finish.

“Encouraging these industries will, in turn, boost demand for tree planting, provide a solid foundation for our circular economy, and make a sizeable contribution to achieving the government’s 2050 targets.”