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Archive for General

PPEC Blog to Introduce Myself

Hello and welcome to my first blog as executive director of The Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC). I am Rachel Kagan and as of February 1st I’ve taken over from John Mullinder, but you can still find him writing about paper on his personal blog.

But back to me… I enjoy organising information and data, drawing insights and identifying trends, and turning that into reports, blogs, social media posts, and other communication and advocacy vehicles.

For the past two years, I have been freelance consulting for small and medium-sized businesses and associations, providing research, legislative and policy analysis, content creation, and project management services.

Prior to that, I have 15+ years of industry association experience, working with members to develop consensus-based policy positions, as well as government submissions, industry reports, and presentations on packaging recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility, food waste, and climate change issues.

Over the past pandemic year, like others, my reliance on deliveries and online shopping has increased, and with it, so has my paper packaging (and my recycling of that paper packaging!). And in starting this role a few weeks ago, I haven’t been able to look at a corrugated box the same way since!

Thanks to PPEC, I now know that the wavy layer of the box is the corrugated medium, and the layers of paper are the liners; but more importantly, I know that those boxes are sustainable and made of recycled content.

And thanks to the Canadian Corrugated & Containerboard Association’s Humble Box Sanitary and Safe video, I also now know that the box being delivered to my home is hygienic and clean.

But I have a lot more to learn about the industry, so I am reading PPEC’s past blogs, Fact Sheets, and other informative resources.

I look forward to applying my experience, skills, and interest in sustainability to PPEC’s work in tracking, monitoring, and promoting the environmental performance and achievements of the Canadian paper packaging industry.

Please feel free to email if you have any questions or comments for me as I get started in this new role.

Rachel Kagan

Executive Director Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC)

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Time to move on

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

This will be my last blog as executive director of PPEC, the environmental council I have run for the past 30 years. Yes, 30 years. Unbelievable how time marches on, isn’t it?

I remember my first day on the job being asked to take the minutes of the board meeting. I knew only two people in the room (the ones who had interviewed me) and had absolutely no idea what these guys were talking about (C flute, Rule 41, corrugators). It was a steep learning curve, but I had some great help along the way from board members, staff, industry colleagues, government folks, environmental activists. A wide range of helpful people, many of them still in regular or occasional contact.

Thirty years ago, packaging was a major political target (things haven’t changed much, have they?) and paper packaging, in particular, was ‘public enemy number one.’ Paper packaging tends to be larger and stand out more; it’s widely used across a broad range of industries and commerce and delivers household goods as well; and somehow it is always captured in stock images of ‘nasty’ landfill. But when you dig deeper, as I did, you quickly discover that it has a great story to tell about sustainability and a circular economy. That’s what I’ve tried to add to, and pass on, over the last 30 years.

I won’t list the council’s many achievements here (there’s a series of videos on the website) but several were world or North American firsts. Possibly the most significant was leading North America in the further recycling of old cereal and shoe boxes (boxboard). Back in the mid 1980s, this already highly-recycled material ended up in the dump because the fibres were considered too thin and short to be of any further use in papermaking.

Working with brand owners like Lever Brothers, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble, and municipalities like Quinte in Southern Ontario, we undertook pilot trials at Strathcona Paper and Paperboard Industries, and developed what we called a food packaging protocol to give the brand owners confidence that re-using residential boxboard in new food packaging would not be a health concern. We then persuaded other mills (Atlantic Packaging, for example) to use old boxboard as filler material in corrugated board. To make a long story short, back in the early 1990s this material went straight to the dump. Today, some 94% of Canadians can recycle it, and those that don’t recycle it can send it on for composting.

Educating people about what has been done, and is being done, is a constant and daunting challenge, and this is possibly more so today with the proliferation of social media and a far looser adherence or ambivalence towards fact-checking. Yes, this bugs me intensely! Whether it’s on forestry or waste issues, recycling or recyclability, please dig for the facts before splurging into print. At the very least, please cite your sources of information so that people can check them out and judge their credibility. Here endeth the rave!

No, I am not sailing off into the sunset. This is au revoir not goodbye. I will continue to write about environmental issues that concern me.

I had planned to do some travel after PPEC, but COVID-19 has put that on hold. COVID-19 has, however, got me into walking/jogging seven kilometres almost every morning, and I am now in better shape than I have been for years. Mental shape too. There’s nothing like an early morning jog/walk to clear your head and think about the next blog, or article, or book you want to write. Yes, I’m working on another book. No surprise, it’s on false and misleading environmental claims! So, if you have some good examples, let me know and I’ll check them out!

In the meantime, PPEC is in good hands with a new executive director coming aboard. Here’s a link to the press release. Please give Rachel your support. Au revoir!

John Mullinder

John Mullinder, Executive Director, PPEC - Regular posts on environmental and sustainability issues impacting the Canadian paper packaging industry

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Executive Director (Part-time)

An opportunity has opened to lead the Canadian paper packaging industry on environmental issues.

The Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC) was formed in 1990 as an umbrella organisation to focus on environmental issues affecting the sector. Its membership includes over 90% of the packaging mills in the country and most of its packaging converters.

PPEC has achieved a number of world or North American ‘firsts’ over its 30-year history and is widely respected as being pro-active and progressive. It lobbies governments on recycling and solid waste policy issues; networks with other industry players (its customers and its customers’ customers, industry stewardship bodies, municipalities, environmental groups, and sister associations in the United States); co-ordinates action industry-wide; develops practical solutions to problems; and promotes the industry’s environmental performance and achievements through its two websites and regular blogs.

This is a part-time position (three days a week or equivalent) with office and financial support staff provided. The successful candidate will report to a Board of Directors and be responsible for all the council’s work, including the hiring of specialists or consultants where applicable.

The council is looking for an energetic self-starter with 8-10 years  experience in environmental issues and superior communication skills (including social media). Previous work for an industry association, being bilingual, and knowing something about the paper industry or packaging would be an advantage but is not a requirement.

Salary for this contract position is $75,000 with health and pension benefits. The council’s office is in Brampton, Ontario but off-site work (home-based) is an option.

About us

PPEC is the national trade association representing the environmental interests of Canada’s paper packaging industry. It represents its members to federal, provincial and municipal governments, to industry forums and to environmental and consumer interest groups, serving both an advocacy and a policy input role.

For more information, please contact:

Geoff Love

Love Environment Inc loveenvironment@wightman.ca 647-248-2500

John Mullinder

John Mullinder, Executive Director, PPEC - Regular posts on environmental and sustainability issues impacting the Canadian paper packaging industry

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