Here are some common fictions about corrugated boxes, and the facts.
Fiction: Every time we need a corrugated box, we cut down a tree.
Fact: Most corrugated boxes manufactured in Canada are made from 100% recycled material: old boxes collected from the back of supermarkets and factories or from curbside. So no fresh trees are required. A few mills blend some virgin material (mostly wood chips and sawmill residues) together with their recycled fibre to make boxes. The chips are left over from lumber operations that produce timber for building homes and hospitals. > Click on Trees
Fiction: Canada is running out of trees.
Fact: That tiny little white box in the top right hand corner represents what the whole Canadian forest industry (pulp, paper, lumber, and other products) harvested of the commercial forest in the most recent year for which data are available (0.2%). By law, those forests must be regenerated, and they are. About 60% of the harvest is currently regenerated through tree planting and direct seeding (over 500 million seedlings per year), while the remainder is regenerated naturally. Provincial legislation ensures that the industry balances what it harvests with the growth of new forests. >Click on Trees
Fiction: Corrugated boxes (and paper packaging in general) are responsible for a massive amount of deforestation in Canada.
Fact: According to Natural Resources Canada, only 0.01 per cent of Canada’s forest, wooded and tree-covered land was deforested in 2015. The deforestation we all hear about is primarily of the world’s tropical forests, not forests in Canada, and not where Canadian corrugated box material is sourced. The major causes of deforestation in Canada are converting land to agriculture, oil and gas extraction, and urban development. The corrugated box and paper packaging industry in general are not responsible for any net deforestation because the Canadian forest industry actively regenerates forest by replanting and seeding to provincially-set sustainability levels. Currently , timber is being harvested at rates more than 30% below the wood supply considered to mark the sustainable limit. > Click on Trees
Fiction: Re-use is always “environmentally friendlier” than recycling.
Fact: Re-using the same package for the same purpose many times seems on the surface to be a better environmental choice, but it’s not always the case. There are resources and energy used to deliver re-usable systems, and water, air pollution, and waste. “Lower environmental impact can often be obtained from the one-way, lightweight pack,” acknowledges the plastic industry. There are also health and safety issues associated with re-using the same packaging, especially when it contains food.Click on Box Design
Fiction: All waxed corrugated boxes end up in landfill.
Fact: A very small number of corrugated boxes (about 3%) have wax treatments added so that ice or water can be packed in to keep the products inside (commonly produce or poultry) fresh during transit. Traditional waxes, however, make the boxes difficult to re-pulp and recycle at a mill. So the industry has developed several options. One of these is to use what are called wax alternatives that are certified to re-pulp and recycle, and another is to mix the boxes with organic or food wastes and compost them. Some used waxed boxes end up as fire logs. > Click on Recyclable