Board Converting News, May 2, 2022

FBA: When It Comes To Packaging, Invest In A Truly Renewable Resource BY CHASE KAMMERER This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet.” Making sustainable decisions in life has always mattered,

and lower emissions during manufacturing processes. And it also means less waste going to landfills. Wood fiber, used for paper-based packaging, is a re- newable resource, unlike mined metals or natural gas pro- cessing and crude-oil refining used in the raw materials/ feedstock for plastics production. All these are non-renew- able resources, and 40 percent of plastics are made to be used one time. Over 90 percent of harvested trees come from tree farms, most family-owned. Seedlings repeatedly replace the harvested trees. It’s an economically and environmen- tally robust method of keeping land valuable but marginal- ly developed and still a carbon sink. One ton of recycled fiber saves 7,000 gallons of water during the manufacturing process. Wood fibers can be re- cycled many times, increasing the rate of carbon seques- tration and reducing greenhouse gas concentrations. The spent fiber can then be turned into municipal compost be- cause it is 100 percent biodegradable. We need to turn the tide of plastic pollution invading our oceans, beaches, backyards, and bodies by using wood fi- ber-based packaging and moving away from plastic pack- aging. Plastics pollution is at the bottoms of our deepest oceans and the summits of our highest mountains. Plastics turn up in the human circulatory system and deep inside our lungs. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that microplastics are ubiquitous, detected in freshwater,

and it is up to us all to make mea- sured decisions about what we buy - how we influence what we put into our world and our bodies. We should practice the change we want to see in the world. In the United States, packaging waste – the products that wrap and

Chase Kammerer

protect our goods, accounts for over 82 million tons of mu- nicipal solid waste (MSW) annually. The amount of packag- ing in our garbage and recycling bins increases year over year. There are some positive trends, but not all packaging is created equal, nor is it all recyclable. Only 53 percent of packaging is ultimately recycled. Wood fiber-based packaging is a 100 percent recycla- ble material. Paper, paperboard, and corrugated packag- ing get recycled at a higher rate than any other packaging material, at over 80 percent. In contrast, around 13 percent of plastic packaging and containers get recycled annually. The need to reclaim old corrugated containers (OCC) is vital to a circular economy. Recycling leads to job creation


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