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National Tree Week: what is the impact of paper packaging?

By Carl Board • Friday 3rd December 2021

From Sunday 27th November to Sunday 5th December, the UK holds the largest annual tree celebration known as ‘National Tree Week’. Paper and card is often cited as the sustainable alternative to packaging made of plastic or polystyrene. Simultaneously, we are being recurrently warned about deforestation and the frightening effects it can have on our ecosystem. Kite are here to explain how exactly these two facts can be reconciled.

Why use paper packaging?

Paper and cardboard are renewable resources with great packaging potential due to their heavy duty strength combined with their ability to be made lightweight and flexible. Paper packaging boasts an impressive recycling rate of 65.6% for 2020, beating plastic which is recycled 47.4% of the time. This grants paper a far superior lifespan, reducing the need to cut down more trees to source new material for production.  


Organisations including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) regulate how forests are managed to ensure that trees are being utilised responsibly, with new ones being planted in accordance to those being used in production. A FSC certification partnered with the easily recyclable property of card or paper situates these products at the height of sustainability. According to FEFCO, the fibres that make up corrugated cardboard can be recycled more than 25 times without losing their quality, identifying cardboard packaging as an excellent way to embrace a circular economy. 

At Kite, we’re one step ahead…

Thanks to the general public for recycling their packaging, we can stock products such as a single and double wall cardboard boxes which have 60-90% recycled content. They are kerbside recyclable after use to create similar products which can also be recycled and so on. The perfect circle of reuse is already in operation, conserving our beautiful woodlands and wild areas. 


In further thanks to the growing culture of public awareness, it has been reported that 73% of people recognised the FSC logo in 2021, up from 55% in 2019. This helps to hold companies accountable; consumers will notice if the certification has been achieved or if it hasn’t and will likely adjust their spending habits accordingly. 


What about the carbon footprint?

A prime motivator for preserving trees can be their carbon capturing capabilities that slow the process of climate change in addition to improving our living atmosphere. Indeed, the Committee on Climate Change stated in March 2019 that the UK needs to plant 30,000 hectares of trees each year and increase our hedgerows by 40% as part of measures to dramatically reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. 


In addition to ensuring that our cardboard products contain recycled content and can be recycled after use, we also supply an Enviro-box specifically designed to minimise CO2 emissions and conserve materials. The corrugated cartons were developed in collaboration with WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme and achieved their aim of providing superior strength compared to most double walled boxes with 7% lighter materials, meaning lower transport costs. Furthermore, the process of manufacturing an Enviro-box results in a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions when paralleled with double corrugated boxes. Consistent with the other packaging in this category, the recycled content of these boxes range from 60% to 90%.


Cardboard and paper packaging exhibit outstanding eco-friendly qualities thanks to their suitability for repeated recycling and ability to be consciously manufactured with reduced CO2 emissions. This, supported by organisations such as FSC, carefully protects our trees and hedgerows and allows us to continue benefitting from their beauty and plentiful profits for our planet. Did you know that a single oak tree can house more than 500 different species? Moreover, an adult tree can change 48 pounds of carbon every year into enough oxygen to keep two people alive. 


Outside our Kite Online office, we have a cluster of trees visible from the window. While pondering the newest packaging initiative, we frequently admire Terence the tree and imagine that you probably have a favourite tree outside your home or at your local park. Paradoxically, you can protect them by embracing sustainable, recyclable and recycled paper packaging for your business needs. 


Carl Board

Carl Board

3rd December • 2021