Committed to Environmental Sustainability

Canada Pallet Source

Used as a stable platform when goods are transported or moved around by forklift or pallet jack, pallets are vital pieces of transport and storage systems. Although they can be made from metal or plastic, the majority of pallets manufactured today are still constructed out of wood.

Indeed, wood remains one of the planet’s best materials for making pallets – but it is a resource which is continually replenished.

Canada Pallet Source (CPS) leads the way as a responsible green corporate citizen, having invested millions of dollars into cutting-edge customized machinery and technology. CPS Wood Products is a trademark registered to Canada Pallet Corp. in Canada and Pallet Source Inc. in the United States. The company is able to salvage lumber from the construction industry, using sections of wood which would otherwise be chipped.

Recognizing the solid structural qualities of wood for pallets but also the need to come up with more viable alternatives than using construction-grade materials, one of Canada’s foremost pallet makers created a green alternative about a decade ago. Instead of using better quality pieces of spruce, pine and fir, why not devise methods to remove good sections from wood which is still usable, but not first quality?

As a result, “No trees are cut for our packaging products,” explains Shawn Hicks, Chief Executive Officer at Canada Pallet Source. “Instead, we are salvaging what the construction industry cannot use.”

An innovative company which continually invests in new technologies to maintain a market advantage over its smaller competitors, CPS continues to supply products which are competitively priced and environmentally friendly. Treating its many customers as partners, the company maintains the same commitment to quality today as it did when it was formed back in 1972.

“Initially, we were just a pure pallet company,” says Mr. Hicks, who has been with CPS for twenty-two years and CEO of the privately owned company for the past nine. Along with Chief Operating Officer Dan Dunkley, Mr. Hicks spearheaded the business’ green initiatives a decade ago and hasn’t looked back.

The Rainforest Alliance, the world’s leading Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) forest management certifier, deals with all forest types and has worked in over seventy countries with everyone from small businesses, to indigenous communities, to Fortune 500 firms. In 1989, with the launch of the SmartWood program, the Rainforest Alliance began the first global forestry certification program, which was also the first to rely on market forces to conserve forests. It has become the largest FSC® accredited certifier and auditor.

Canada Pallet Source is FSC® Certified through the Rainforest Alliance and is audited regularly. All of its major suppliers are Forest Stewardship Council® certified, and the company can prove chain of custody from forest to consumer. As a carbon neutral company, it prides itself on offering all customers FSC® certified products. “Structurally, wood is best for the environment and the least expensive raw material,” says Mr. Hicks of the only major structural material that is natural and renewable.

A big part of the changes in the supply of wood the company uses to make its pallets, and other products, has to do with Canada being the leading nation for FSC Certified Forests. Government legislation has required that any trees cut down on Crown Land must be replanted for more then 100 years. “We’ve got this natural regeneration happening, and so we fell into the pipeline – the supply chain, if you will – of the greenest structural product on the planet,” comments Mr. Hicks. “We wanted to maximize our advantage of being part of that supply chain.”

Realizing that trees are essential for the air that we breathe, CPS remains committed to ensuring that one hundred percent of its wood remains material salvaged from the construction industry.

“We deal directly with all the major mills of North America,” states Mr. Hicks. “They produce for companies like Home Depot and others who need eight-foot pieces of wood for a wall stud. If a piece has a six inch long poor quality section or a big knot, it is unusable for construction. We bring in those pieces, slice the material, and make shorter length material for packaging.”

In addition to existing high-tech machinery, Canada Pallet Source invested $2.5 million into a Tronco cut line that utilizes lasers to precisely measure defects so less-than-perfect portions of wood can be removed with very little waste. As a result, the quality of the wood is upgraded to construction grade, and an imperfect an eight foot long piece becomes a higher quality thirty-six or forty inch long section which is used to create pallets or other items.

Even pieces which are not suitable for pallets get another life. Some smaller chunks are made into shingles or bed frame components or sent out to be processed, mixed with resin and formed into sheets to create particleboard. Other, smaller materials are made into wood-burning fireplace logs and wood pellets for heating. “Our fines – like sawdust – are sold for animal bedding,” says Mr. Hicks, proud of the company’s many environmental and sustainability initiatives.

The company has its own on-site specialist design team to work directly with clients to create optimal, custom crating solutions for all shipping needs. Using the latest CAD software, the team produces flawless designs which are sent to the build team for maximum production accuracy.

CPS manufactures many types of products for all shipping needs, at economical prices. Pallets, crates and a diverse range of customizable shipping solutions are manufactured to the highest quality standards and sold across the United States and Canada. Many industries count on CPS products to ship everything from snow blowers, lawn tractors and appliances to insulation, mining equipment and interlock stone.

From wood shipping crates to standard and custom wood pallets, specialty pallets, returnable crates, packaging supplies and unique designs, CPS creates an incredible number of pallet items every single day, ranging from crate components to appliance bases, standard wood pallets and more. “Ideally, we want to run five days a week, twenty hours a day,” states Mr. Hicks. “In twenty hours of production, we’ll produce 22,000 finished products.”

CPS has seen its ongoing investment pay off over the years, both in terms of producing quality, sustainable wood products for its many customers and in efficient productivity. “We are very good at high volume product and, in that niche, there isn’t a lot of competition,” comments Mr. Hicks. “If somebody wants to make half a million snow blower crates per year, we are in a world of our own because of our investment in automation – which is really what separates us from our competition.”

When the company needed to expand, back in 2000, it moved to its present location: a massive, 140,000 square foot manufacturing space in Cobourg, Ontario. Close to major highways and on the CN rail line, the present home of CPS is ideal for bringing in raw materials via the rail system. With plenty of room for expansion, Cobourg is close to major markets and offers better tax rates than larger urban centres for the company and its staff of 125 (growing to about 160 seasonally).

Recently, the company was in Europe to arrange for the purchase of a half-million dollar assembly line which will continually allow it to export product. Investment in the company has enabled CPS to create higher quality pallet construction and achieve goals of producing 140 million board feet per year, along with approximately 600 tonnes of sawdust and woodchips every month.

Along with its many pallet products, CPS has evolved into a worldwide innovator in the design and manufacture of bed products. With the ideal combination of resources and technical expertise, the company creates outstanding and affordable box springs and components, shipping products within the entire continental United States and Canada. From collapsible box springs, which can manoeuvre around tight corners and are fully assembled in less than ten minutes, and platform box springs with plenty of under-bed storage space to inclined slope box springs which help to reduce acid reflux. Its patented products are durable, attractive and highly functional. Many are sold directly through

CPS is introducing a new patent pending honeycomb pallet this month. This hybrid wood combination pallet was developed and tested in-house before being scrutinized by third parties, hired to perform final testing for the marketplace. “We consider this to be a game changer, in that we will be able to supply a pallet to someone utilizing about sixty percent of the volume of material that previously would have been required. So from a sustainability perspective, we’re cutting our raw material footprint by about forty percent.”

The company remains committed to its customers and the environment. “We’re very innovative,” emphasizes Mr. Hicks, “and I’d like to see us continuing down our sustainability path and, at the end of the day, be a profitable and responsible company.”

For more information about Canada Pallet Source, please visit

June 20, 2021, 8:27 AM EDT