The major paper packaging grades made in Canada – which include containerboard (used to make corrugated cardboard boxes), boxboard (e.g., cereal or shoe boxes), and Kraft paper (used for bags and sacs) – are made from a highly recyclable and renewable material that is used repeatedly through the process of recycling.
While most paper packaging made in Canada is produced with recycled content, the paper fibres it was originally made from came from a tree. However, the Canadian paper packaging industry doesn’t use much in the way of freshly cut trees, and the little that is harvested must be successfully regenerated by Canadian law.
While the purpose of some of these media articles is to share environmental concerns surrounding various packaging materials, the articles do not provide information about the function of packaging, or the proliferation of packaging, which should be recognized in any story about packaging.
It’s clear that consumers want convenience but there are trade-offs in society’s decisions. We all have choices we make when making purchasing decisions, just as we have choices in managing our waste.
Everyone has a role to play in minimizing waste and diverting recyclable materials from landfill – businesses that make and sell products and packaging, waste management industry (recyclers, haulers, MRFs), and consumers. Ultimately it is the consumer who decides how to treat their waste and they need to do their part of properly cleaning and sorting their recyclables from their waste and organics to ensure everything that can be recycled is recycled.
Yes, the federal government’s plastics ban will see businesses shift to other packaging alternatives, including paper-based packaging, and our industry will look to meet the demand as needed, creating paper packaging products that are responsibly certified, sustainable, and recyclable.