Home Blogs John Mullinder Average recycled content of paper packaging made in Canada slowly edges closer to the 80 per cent mark

Average recycled content of paper packaging made in Canada slowly edges closer to the 80 per cent mark

The national average recycled content of boxes, bags, and cartons made in Canada reached 77% in 2016, according to the industry's latest survey of mill shipments. That's 1% higher than two years ago but 30% higher than it was back in 1990.

The 77% is an average over three different packaging grades (corrugated boxes, boxboard cartons and paper bags). Most boxes and cartons, in fact, are made from 100% recycled content, from used paper and board collected from the back of factories and supermarkets, from office buildings, and from curbside Blue Boxes and drop-off depots. Most Canadian packaging mills were built to make these 100% recycled content products.

The overall industry average comes down because a few mills blend recycled material with sawmill residues (chips, shavings, and sawdust left over from lumber operations) and three mills use sawmill residues or freshly-cut trees.

The average recycled content of a corrugated shipping box is now 83% (up 3%) and a boxboard or paperboard carton 73 per cent (no change).

For more information on recycled content, how it's defined, how it's measured, how it differs between packaging grades, why the industry needs virgin material at some point, the problems with setting minimum recycled content levels, and why disposal bans are a more practical option, see the council's latest backgrounder, Understanding Recycled Content.



John Mullinder
Executive Director
The Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC)

 
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