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Monday, 22 January 2018
As plastics fall, the paper and board renaissance arrives


Plastic is strewn across our coastlines and countryside, and if change does not come, by 2050 approximately 12billion tonnes of plastic waste will be in landfills or the natural environment. [1]

As public awareness around the impact of plastics reaches new heights; businesses, organisations and the government itself have announced ways in which they will change and innovate to counter the tidal wave of waste.

The UK Government is aiming to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by end of 2042, Iceland Foods have announced that it is going zero-plastic on all own brand products by 2023. Similarly, McDonald’s have announced a target of 100%of guest packaging coming from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025.

In addition to reduction and reuse initiatives, these moves away from plastic inevitably mean a step towards the customer-favoured renewable and recyclable materials: paper and cardboard.

A new survey by TwoSides [2] has revealed a clear preference among UK consumers for paper and cardboard packaging. In 7 out of 11 categories, consumers stated that they preferred paper/cardboard over glass, metal and plastic packaging. Plastic was least favourite in all but one category.

As this renaissance takes hold, it is important that organisations making the transition do so in a responsible manner. Switching from plastic to cardboard packaging is promising, yet if not implemented correctly it can have a major impact on the environment.

Importance of Responsible Sourcing

productsThe FSC system can help businesses and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products such as cork and latex, from well-managed forests and/or verified and recycled sources.

FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification ensures that FSC materials and products have been checked at every stage of processing, so customers purchasing products sold with FSC claims can be confident that they are genuinely FSC certified.

If paper, card or wood fibre based products or packaging are not responsibly sourced they can contribute to deforestation; depleting the largest terrestrial store of atmospheric carbon on the planet.

Certification can also be beneficial to businesses as 54%[3] of consumers recognise the FSC logo and 55%[3] of people in the UK have a preference for products that carry the logo over ones that do not.

For more on Chain of Custody and how it all works, take a look at our factsheet.

If you want to find out more about how FSC-certified operations benefit the climate, visit.

Alternatives to plastic, today

Although the UK Government’s 25 Year Environmental Plan, and the pledges of such companies as McDonald’s and Iceland are quite recent; alternatives to plastics are being implemented today.

Tetra Pak is a known innovator in paperboard packaging, offering cartons as an alternative to plastic bottles. It also holds FSC Chain of Custody certification, meaning the paperboard in all of their FSC-certified products is coming to you from a responsible source.

LEGO also set an excellent example over Christmas, when it used FSC-certified paper trays in its advent calendars. Not only that but it promoted creative uses for the trays, encouraging younger generations to think about reusing materials.

Any company interested in using FSC-certified packaging can find further information here.

[1] Geyer, R.,Jambeck, J., and Law, K. (2017) Production,use, and fate of all plastics ever made, Science Advances. Vol 3, no.7, 2017

[2] […]

[3] TNS Omnibus survey of 2151 adults (Fieldwork 12/04/17 – 16/04/17)

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231