COMPARISON OF THE POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF MICROWAVE PHYTOSANITARY TREATMENT OF WOODEN PALLETS TO CONVENTIONAL HEAT AND METHYL BROMIDE TREATMENTS

Open Access
Author:
Moadel Shahidi, Seyedeh Shirin
Graduate Program:
Forest Resources
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
None
Committee Members:
  • Charles David Ray Sr., Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Phytosanitary Treatment
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Environmental Impacts
  • Pallet
Abstract:
In this thesis, a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of phytosanitary treatment of wooden pallets with microwave (MW) heating is presented. The focus of the LCA in this study is on the phytosanitary treatments of Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA) wooden pallets. Wooden pallets are used in most international deliveries and they are prone to pest infestation, serving as a pathway for the introduction and spread of pests to living trees. The current ISPM 15 guideline requires wood packaging materials to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide. These two currently approved methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Conventional heat treating is believed to have the highest impacts in some environmental categories and methyl bromide is being phased out due to its ozone depleting properties. There is a big debate about selecting a phytosanitary treatment method that has less environmental impacts and is less expensive. Temperature required to kill a particular pest and the amount of time needed are two important issues that needs to be considered since they control the amount of impacts a treatment method might have on the environment. The time required to reach the kill temperature depends on many factors including the type of energy source used to generate the heat. The goal of this study is to compare the amount of carbon footprint and emissions released from potential microwave phytosanitary treatment of wooden pallets to conventional heat treatment and methyl bromide fumigation. This goal is achieved by using a life cycle assessment database, which analyzes data collected from pallet manufacturing, treatment companies, and published articles and journals and then quantifies the atmospheric emissions resulting from microwave treatment of 48” x 40” GMA wooden pallets as projected by pilot studies of potential microwave pallet treating technology. The life cycle of wooden pallets was modeled in SimaPro Software 7.1 for carbon footprint and environmental impacts calculations. A model of the product life cycle with all the environmental inputs and outputs during phytosanitary treatments was developed. To accomplish this, we collected data for the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) phase, evaluated the significance of potential impacts on the environment to meet Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) requirement, and finally, interpreted the results from the LCI and LCIA.