Some 95 per cent of Canadians now have access to recycling options for paper boxes and cartons, says the Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC).
The stats, compiled by CM Consulting, show that recycling access numbers have grown since 2000, when recycling access for Canadians hovered around 85 per cent.
“What this means is that Canadians no longer have any excuses for placing paper boxes in the garbage,” says PPEC Executive Director John Mullinder, who addressed the stats in a January 22, 2014 statement to media. “They don’t belong there,” added Mullinder, “and besides, we need them to make new boxes.”
Mullinder says most of the new boxes manufactured in Canada are made from 100 per cent recycled material that’s been collected from the back of factories or supermarkets or from curbside or depot programs.
About 40 years ago, Mullinder says the only paper packaging collected for recycling in Canada was old corrugated boxes used to deliver supplies to factories and supermarkets. When the supply of these boxes tightened, the recycling mills started to look for additional sources of paper fibre, which led them to lobby municipalities to add the collection of old corrugated containers (or OCC) from households.
Then in the early 1990s, PPEC and a select group of customers led North America in the further recycling of old boxboard (the common cereal or shoe box). This is normally 100 per cent recycled content as well, and can be blended in with old corrugated boxes to make new paper packaging.
“While we have used old corrugated to make new boxes for years, we are particularly proud of our efforts to divert old boxboard from landfill,” says Mullinder. “Within a relatively short timeframe, we’ve gone from zero public access in one province (Ontario) to almost 100 per cent access nationally.”
What the industry really wants now, Mullinder says, is for Canadians to make sure that they take full advantage of their recycling opportunities.
“We need that material to make new boxes. It should not go to waste,” he says.