Packaging 101

Tab titleCorrugated Boxes CanadaPaper Bags CanadaPaper Boxes CanadaWhat do you mean “cardboard” doesn’t exist?
CorrugatedBoxesThink of the products you use every day at home or at the office. How did they get there? Where did they come from? read the rest here
Corrugated Boxes Corrugated boxes are commonly used to carry heavier products such as appliances, electronic goods, fruit and vegetables, the rest here
Paper Bags CanadaPaper bags and sacks can be essentially divided into two categories: the lighter paper bags used to carry groceries and fast-food take-outs; read the rest here
Paper Boxes Canada Various terms are used to describe paper boxes around the world (cartons, cardboard, corrugated, and just plain paper box).read the rest here
Cardboard doesn't existTo most of us, “cardboard” generally means a brown box that’s used to deliver stuff to our homes or workplaces. read the rest here

Where does packaging come from?

Paper packaging comes from a renewable resourceThe Truth about TreesRe-growing the forestCanada leads the world in forest certificationForest Certification Standards in CanadaThe biggest consumer of the forest is not the forestry industry (surprise!)Setting the record straight on deforestationResponsible sourcing of raw materials
Trees Unlike most other packaging materials, paper packaging is originally made from a renewable resource — trees. read the rest here
Canadian CertificationFirst of all, trees are made from a renewable resource. What does that mean? read the rest here
Regrowing the forestIn the time it takes you to read this sentence, about 130 new tree seedlings will have been planted somewhere in a commercial forest in Canada. read the rest here
Canadian CertificationOver 40% of the world’s sustainably managed forests are right here in the rest here
The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers supports third-party forest certification as a tool to demonstrate the rigor of Canada’s forest management laws, read the rest here
Mountain Pine BeetleMeet the mountain pine beetle. This little guy and his friends have devastated 14 times more commercial forest than was harvested for pulp, paper or lumber in the latest data year. read the rest here
Net Deforestation in CanadaDuring the recent plastic bag debate in Toronto, one individual stood up and said all you need to know about the alternative (paper bags) was the rest here
Forest Certification (24 Jan 2012) The environmental body representing the Canadian paper packaging industry (PPEC) has announced a major achievement: read the rest here


What’s paper packaging made from?

What’s paper packaging made from?Most Canadian boxes and cartons are 100% recycled contentCanadian paper packaging mills near 80% average recycled contentWhat you can say about recycled content in CanadaOnly 11% of Canadian boxes, bags, and cartons are actually made from freshly-cut treesMade from renewable energy (biomass, hydro)
Recycled paper and boardPaper packaging in Canada is either made from virgin, recycled, or blended pulp (a mix of the two). Most by far is made from recycled pulp (76%). read the rest here
Box with 100% Recycled Content Most of the packaging mills in Canada produce 100% recycled content board. That’s the way they are set up. read the rest here
       Average Recycled Content
The average recycled content of paper packaging produced by Canadian mills for use in Canada is close to 80%, according to the industry’s environmental council, PPEC. The council surveys the industry every two years and has been tracking recycled content since 1990. For 2012, the average was 76.4%, basically the same as in 2010. read the rest here
Average Recycled Content by the numbers The reference document for this information is Environmental claims: A guide for industry and advertisers,read the rest here
Only 11% of Canadian Boxes And you thought every time we needed another box or carton we’d just grab a chainsaw and head for the forest! read the rest here
The two Canadian mills that produce kraft paper to make paper bags and sacks are major users of renewable energy (biomass). read the rest here

How is paper packaging made?

Paper Packaging Flow ChartWhat happens at a packaging millWhat happens at a converter (or box plant)
Paper Packaging Flow Chart Some 76% of the paper packaging made in Canada is made from recycled pulp, from the old boxes and other used paper material collected from the back of factories, supermarkets and office buildings, and from curbside Blue Box programs and drop-off the rest here
Packaging Mill Packaging mills produce three main types of board or the raw material from which the packaging is eventually the rest here
BHS Corrugator in Action This is normally an entirely different plant from a packaging mill although it may be owned or have an ongoing commercial relationship with a mill company or board supplier. read the rest here

The 3Rs (Reduction, Re-Use, Recycling)

Reduction: making do with lessCorrugated Re-trippersRe-use not necessarily “environmentally friendlier” than recyclingSanitisation issuesMost paper packaging is recyclable and/or compostableWhat “recyclable” meansVirtually 100% of Canadians can now recycle paper boxes, bags, and cartonsPioneering the recycling of old boxboard cartonsWax alternatives are recyclablePPEC wants old boxes banned from landfillWhere does used packaging go?Used paper and board are both imported and exportedThe composting alternative
Making do with less At first sight it may seem strange that the paper packaging industry would actively promote the use of less packaging. read the rest here
Corrugated Retrippers Re-using the same package for the same purpose has some environmental the rest here
Re-use is not always the better environmental choice. Resources such as non-renewable fossil fuels and energy are sometimes required to set up and deliver reusable systems. read the rest here
Serious health issues have been raised about re-using the same containers, especially when food is the rest here
Recyclable Logo Most paper packaging is recyclable in Canada. read the rest here
Recyclable Box Most materials are technically recyclable. Whether they are actually sent for recycling or recycled into something else is sometimes an entirely different story. read the rest here
Canadians can no longer say they’d love to recycle their old paper boxes but can’t do it where they the rest here
100% Recycled The Canadian paper box industry relies heavily on recycled materials to make the boxes its customers use to deliver their various products. read the rest here
Waxes are applied in fish, poultry, meat and some vegetable packaging so that ice and water can be packed against the product, keeping it fresh. read the rest here
The national recovery rate of old corrugated boxes for recycling is an estimated 85%, with at least one provincial Blue Box program reaching 93 per cent. read the rest here
Most gets recycled! Into new the rest here
Canadian packaging mills are highly dependent on receiving regular supplies of used paper and board. Why? read the rest here
While most paper products are recyclable, sometimes they are just too far away from a recycling mill for recycling to be economically worthwhile. read the rest here

Statistics, Sources, Analysis

National Packaging StatisticsProvincial Packaging StatisticsIndustrial (IC & I) Packaging StatisticsResidential Packaging StatisticsRecycled Content StatisticsSo much for the paperless house!Recyclability StatisticsForest StatisticsDeforestation Statistics
The good news is that a comprehensive national survey by Statistics Canada of packaging use, consumption, re-use, recycling and disposal, covering both industrial and residential sectors, exists. The bad news is that it was undertaken back in 1996. read the rest here
There are no provincial packaging statistics that cover both industrial and residential sources of packaging. read the rest here
Data does exist on the use of packaging by 31 different industrial, commercial and institutional (IC & I) sectors, but it was collected as part of the 1996 National Packaging Survey and is therefore old. read the rest here
There is now some very good data on residential packaging. The introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) or stewardship programs on printed paper and packaging in several provinces has spurred the creation of comprehensive databases to track packaging usage, collection, recycling and disposal. read the rest here
PPEC surveys Canadian packaging mills on what they are using to make paper or board for packaging every two years. read the rest here
You’ve heard of the paperless office. What about the paperless house? Not going to happen, at least, not anytime soon. read the rest here
In Canada and in the US, the definition of the word “recyclable” for environmental labelling and advertising purposes, does not mean technically capable of being recycled, or actually being recycled. read the rest here
PPEC’s major source of information on forestry issues comes from the annual reports of the federal government department Natural Resources Canada. read the rest here
The major causes of net deforestation in Canada are conversion of land to agriculture and the extraction of oil and gas. read the rest here