For years, forests have been cleared because of illegal logging since the demand for wood was high, and lately, even though wood is not as necessary for manufacturing as it did before, the alternatives that were developed were not implemented fast enough.
We have seen headlines after headlines about climate crises that are affecting the world, urging us to slow down on the activities that contribute to environmental destruction. But those steps were not good enough because as of recent studies, 15.3 billion trees have been chopped down because of manufacturing.
A Dutch entrepreneur, Michiel Vos, started CocoPallet as his way of helping save our environment. The company is using recycled coconut husks to replace wood in making shipping pallets. According to Vos, Asia produces billions of pallets every year, and making these pallets requires softwood that can't be easily found in tropical forests. This is the reason why the woods are imported from New Zealand, Canada, and Europe.
Because of the export demand, forests have been destroyed. With the creation of pallets made from coconut husk, the coconut wastes that are abundant in Asia can be put into use and can reduce the number of husks that are being thrown away and left to rot. According to Vos' research, pallets that are made from coconut husks are lighter, stronger, saves space, and are fire resistant. They also do not attract termites, unlike wood pallets. The coconut husk pallets are cheaper and more sustainable.
Since the introduction of coconut husk pallet in Asia, CocoPallet was able to save 200 million trees from being cut down, and the numbers are increasing since they are planning to spread this recycled product all over Asia, and eventually, across the globe.
When Vos saw how strong and reliant coconut husks are, he saw the potential of manufacturing it and selling it as a replacement for traditional wood pallets. If raw materials are made out of husks instead of wood, we can prevent deforestation, prevent the material from rotting away, and it can mitigate pollution and climate change, plus it can give farmers and laborers a source of livelihood.
CocoPallet is making waves in Asia and is becoming more popular among exporters. They are already producing pallets in Indonesia, Sumatra, and the Philippines. They take advantage of the 75 billion coconuts that are harvested every year, and since they are water resistant, pest repellent and biodegradable, more and more exporters are switching.