Why Printed Paper and Packaging?

Ontario’s Printed Paper and Packaging Rapid Lab will focus on the future of:

  • Printed paper (e.g. general use, bills, booklets, brochures, calendars, catalogues, flyers, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, receipts, tissue paper, wrapping paper)
  • Primary and convenience packaging (e.g. beverage and food containers, take-out food packaging, paper and plastic bags, plastic films and aluminum foil)

Printed paper and packaging materials are everywhere and impact every sector and level of the economy; every Ontarian interacts with these materials many times per day. Many of these materials are highly recyclable or compostable and have a long history of successful diversion in Ontario, with an overall rate of >60%. 

These materials pose both a tremendous opportunity and challenge for the transition to a circular economy as a result of factors such as:

  • The diverse (and sometimes conflicting) interests of actors at every stage of the product lifecycle (e.g. regulators, retailers, manufacturers, packagers, printers, end-users, recyclers, refurbishers, etc.)
  • Market and economic issues, such as overcapacity, low prices, high raw material costs and volatile commodity markets.
  • Changing composition of waste (e.g. declining printed paper and glass, increasing plastics and convenience packaging)  resulting in higher waste collection and recycling costs
  • The diversity of materials, including new, more “sustainable” materials (e.g. compostable plastics) that contaminate or complicate conventional waste streams. 
  • The evolving regulatory environment, particularly with the introduction of Ontario’s new waste management and extended producer responsibility legislation.