What is Paper Packaging Made From?
Almost 90% of the paper-based packaging produced in Canada is made from leftovers, either from recycled paper or board, or sawmill residues.
Recycled materials represent over 76% of the average box, bag, or carton. The recycled paper and board is collected from the back of supermarkets, factories and offices, or from curbside (the Blue Box) and depots. Old corrugated boxes, printing and writing paper, old newspapers and flyers, used bags and cartons, and converter scrap, get a whole new life. In fact, most Canadian boxes and cartons are made from 100% recycled materials. The handful of mills using non-recycled fibre reduces the national average to a still very impressive 76 per cent.
The other leftovers used by Canada’s packaging mills are sawmill residues, the wood chips, shavings and sawdust left over when sawmills shape the timber that’s used to build homes, hospitals, and schools. Instead of wasting these leftovers they are used to either make paper or converted into renewable energy (carbon-neutral biomass) to power the mill. On average, sawmill residues represent about 13% of what is used to make Canadian packaging.
The smallest component (11%) is actual logs. And most of these (90%) are hardwoods which are in plentiful supply. Every province has regulations that set sustainability levels for their forests, to ensure that harvesting is in balance with renewal.