Paper packaging comes from a renewable resource

Unlike most other packaging materials, paper packaging is originally made from a renewable resource — trees.  Trees help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by acting as a giant set of lungs:  inhaling the carbon dioxide that people, animals and decomposing matter produce; and exhaling oxygen which sustains all living organisms (including us). And in Canada those trees are in good shape.  See Factsheet – The Truth about Trees.

The Truth about Trees

Trees are good, and our forests are in good shape.  In fact, Canada leads the world in third-party sustainable forest management certification.  Over 160 million hectares of Canadian forest is certified to one or more of three globally recognized certification standards:  Canadian Standards Association (CSA); Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  Almost 40% of the world’s third-party certified forest is right here in Canada (


In Global Context


And according to the federal government department responsible for Canada’s forests, Natural Resources Canada, a minuscule amount of Canada’s extensive forest lands is actually harvested every year, less than half of one per cent, and that’s for all tree uses (lumber, pulp, paper, tissue, packaging). To put that “less than half of one percent” in perspective, consider that forest fires burned almost five times more, and insects and beetles munched their way through an incredible 22 times more! [1]

By law, all forests harvested on crown land (over 90% of Canada’s forest land is publicly-owned) must be successfully regenerated.  About 60% is currently regenerated through tree planting and direct seeding, while the remainder is regenerated naturally.

Re-growing the forest

In 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. By the time you get to the bottom of the page that number will have jumped to 1,200. On average, over 1,000 seedlings are launched on a new life every minute, regenerating what Canada has plenty of – forests. The latest annual harvest for timber and pulp and paper amounted to 0.2% of what’s out there.

Forest companies regenerate the forest they use because they want it to be there when they need it in future, but also because over 90% of Canada’s commercial forests are located on crown lands, owned by the provinces. By law, these companies must meet sustainability levels set by the provinces. At the moment, timber is being harvested at rates 30% below what’s considered to be the sustainable limit for Canada’s wood supply.

The Canadian forest industry is also a world leader in sustainable forestry management and what’s called “chain-of-custody” (responsible sourcing of raw materials). For more information on these subjects, see the Factsheets Canada leads the world and Responsible sourcing of raw materials.

Source: The State of Canada’s Forests, Annual Report 2017, Natural Resources Canada. The planting of tree seedlings per minute is derived from over 500 million seedlings planted per year.

[1] In The State of Canada’s Forests, Annual Report 2017, Natural Resources Canada says 0.78 million hectares of Canada’s total forestlands (less than half of 1%) was harvested for pulp, paper and lumber uses. Some 3.9 million hectares was burned by forest fires and 17.6 million hectares defoliated by insects and beetles.