Solid Waste & Recycling


High Ontario paper packaging diversion rate

Almost 70 per cent of the paper packaging entering Ontario households was sent for recycling in 2008, accordin...

Almost 70 per cent of the paper packaging entering Ontario households was sent for recycling in 2008, according to statistics just released by Blue Box industry funding organization, Stewardship Ontario.

The numbers are released every year and are based on a combination of waste audits of what householders put out for recycling or garbage, and reports by companies on what materials they place into the residential marketplace. A non-crown corporation set up by the provincial government, Waste Diversion Ontario, vets the process.

“This is a very good result for paper packaging,” says John Mullinder, head of the industry’s environmental council, PPEC. “It tells Ontarians that their efforts to recycle paper packaging are worthwhile, and presents us with a feedstock that we can use again and again. Not many people realize that the average recycled content of the paper packaging we supply to the Canadian marketplace is 66 per cent. The impression that we grab a chainsaw every time we need a new box to deliver products is just so totally false.”

Old corrugated boxes are now the most widely recovered of all Blue Box materials with an amazing recovery rate of 92 per cent, up 15 percentage points on the previous data year. Industrial recycling of corrugated is also very good, says the environmental council, perhaps as high as 80 per cent. “To put corrugated recycling in perspective,’’ says Mullinder, “just one large supermarket chain in Ontario sends more than four times as many old corrugated boxes for recycling than all the municipalities of Ontario combined.”

The lighter weight boxboard carton commonly used to deliver cereals and foodstuffs, also does well in the latest survey, increasing its recovery rate from 58 per cent to 65 per cent. “These cartons are mostly 100 per cent recycled content in the first place,” says Mullinder, “and in fact Ontario pioneered the further recycling of this material almost 20 years ago. It does present problems at the reprocessing stage, but to have some 65 per cent of it diverted from landfill is really good.”

The latest data indicates that of all the paper generated by Ontario households (whether printed paper or boxes, bags, or cartons) some 76 per cent is now being recovered through the Blue Box system for further recycling.


John Mullinder, Executive Director

Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC)

Tel: 905-458-0087

Fax: 905-458-2052



Source: Stewardship Ontario Blue Box Program Fee Setting 2010 Calculation Tables, Table 1: Generation and Recovery (2008). Recovery rates for paper packaging as a whole were 68.5 per cent, broken out as follows: old corrugated containers (92.0 per cent), old boxboard (65.2 per cent), gable top cartons (23.5 per cent), aseptic containers (18.4 per cent) and paper laminants (1.0 per cent).

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