You know that cardboard container you just put in the recycling bin? It’s made by one of many companies within the paper and packaging industry – an industry with a long history of innovation and caring for the environment.
The industry’s drive to eliminate waste has led to new packaging innovations and even more sustainable paper-based products. Look around and you’ll see that many brands have done away with packaging made of non-renewable materials and replaced it with paper! It’s the perfect recyclable material because trees are a renewable resource that are continually planted and carefully maintained by private forest owners. Choosing paper products encourages U.S. Forest owners to grow and maintain healthy forests, nearly twice the amount that’s used to make the products we need. And that’s something we can all feel good about.
These days, there are a lot of reasons to feel good about paper. Here are three:
Reason #1: New Products Embrace the Big Environmental Picture
Consumer brands are making simple packaging changes to help them reach their sustainability goals – and paper companies are providing these innovative solutions.
For starters, take those ubiquitous plastic six-pack rings. More and more beverage companies are ditching the plastic six-pack rings in favor of recyclable paper-based products. One example is the KeelClip, a recyclable paper fastener that completely covers the top of the product, keeping can tops clean. Other brands that manufacture canned goods like tuna are getting rid of plastic shrink wrapping and replacing it with renewable, recyclable paper packaging.
Left to right: The recyclable KeelClip keeps can tops clean. Tuna packaging - there’s nothing fishy about this smart shrinkwrap substitute.
Reason #2: Game-Changing Innovations Mean More Sustainable Options for You
Innovations in paper and paper packaging are bringing sustainability – not to mention safety and efficiency – to industries you wouldn’t normally expect, transforming both the everyday and the essential:
- Extreme-cold storage boxes can keep lifesaving medical supplies at subzero temperatures, and then be reused or recycled.
- Cosmetic and personal care products that are focused on circularity and dedicated to producing organic, cruelty-free formulations made of natural ingredients are using 100% recyclable paper packaging.
Left to right: Recyclable paper storage boxes keep lifesaving medical supplies at subzero temps. Natural cosmetics are packaged in an easy to use push up stick made of paper.
Reason #3: Papermakers Are Pros at Minimizing Waste
What’s better than being able to do something good for the planet? Being able to do right by Mother Earth up to seven times. Paper itself is an inherently circular product whose fibers can be recycled and transformed again and again.
So the box from last night’s pizza may be recycled into a cereal box. Recycle that cereal box, and it can become a tissue box, and so on.
The “new life” of paper products helps keep paper materials out of landfills. And all of that starts with us: The paper industry is largely responsible for buying and reusing the actual materials you recycle. Without this system, it would be hard to build a long-term, sustainable recycling program. The products would have only one life and would be discarded after each use.
So, whether you’re buying your deodorant in a paper tube rather than a plastic case or bringing your dinner leftovers home in a fiber take out container instead of Styrofoam, every time you choose to use a paper-based product, you’re making the most of your opportunity to help our planet. And that’s a choice we should never let go to waste.