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Average recycled content of Canadian-made paper packaging rises to 81%: PPEC

July 29, 2021  By PrintAction Staff

The Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC) has announced the results of its 16th biennial Recycled Content Survey.

Every two years, PPEC surveys Canadian paper mills about their paper packaging import and export shipments, to determine the average recycled content used to make paper-based packaging products in Canada.

The average recycled content of domestic Canadian shipments of the three major packaging grades –
containerboard (used to make corrugated boxes), boxboard (used to make boxboard cartons), and kraft paper (used to make paper bags) – is 81.7 per cent according to the 2020 survey, up from 73.5 per cent in 2018. The average has steadily increased from 47 per cent in 1990, when PPEC first started collecting recycled content data from Canadian paper mills.


“PPEC is proud that the average recycled content of paper-based packaging products continues to increase in Canada,” said Chris Bartlett, chair of PPEC’s board. “Recycled content is a key component of a circular economy, as it keeps raw materials flowing longer, reducing the need to extract virgin materials.”

“Recycling plays a critical role in the environmental sustainability of the Canadian paper packaging industry,” added Rachel Kagan, PPEC’s executive director. “Canadians actively recycle their paper-based packaging, which allows paper mills to continue to maintain high levels of recycled content in Canadian made paper packaging.”

Key findings from 2020 PPEC Recycled Content Survey are:
• Total Canadian paper mill shipments: 3.37 million tonnes
• Total recycled content shipments to domestic and export markets: 2.35 million tonnes
• Average recycled content of domestic shipments for all three major packaging grades: 81.7 per cent
• Average recycled content for domestic shipments of boxboard, which is used to make cereal or shoe
boxes: 79.8 per cent.
• Average recycled content for domestic shipments of containerboard, which is used to make corrugated
shipping boxes: 86.5 per cent.

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