Printed Paper and Packaging Vision

The following vision is an output of CEL’s Printed Paper and Packaging Rapid Lab. It is a working draft to stimulate discussion and inspire action towards a circular economy.

A vision for the future of printed paper and packaging in Ontario

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The Vision below presents a desired future for printed paper and packaging that aligns with sustainability and the circular economy. It is deliberately ambitious and reflects the Rapid Lab participants’ thinking on how these products and materials need to evolve over the coming decades.


In our vision, printed paper and packaging (PPP) in Ontario, and the entire system that supports it, are designed for:

  1. Sustainability: Maximizing value and utility by supporting multiple cycles of use, refurbishing, re-purposing and recycling in closed loop systems; reducing materials where possible; re-integrating biological materials to the biosphere; respecting social equity; and aligning with science-based principles of sustainability; and,
  2. Functionality: Meeting market and regulatory requirements for function, branding, efficiency, safety, performance and cost throughout the PPP lifecycle.

In our vision, we have competitive, circular economy value chains for PPP that result in tremendous social, environmental and economic prosperity for all of Ontario’s citizens. Ontario, as such, serves as a leader for a circular economy in PPP.

Description of Success

To us, achieving this vision means that by 2030 Ontario’s PPP system has:

  • Established prosperous resource markets that reflect the true costs and value of materials: Strong and stable commodity markets exist for PPP materials to support multiple lifecycles; the true value created (i.e. social, environmental and economic) is reflected in pricing.
  • Eliminated and re-conceptualized waste: PPP materials previously disposed of are now seen as valuable commodities and flow in closed loop cycles. In doing so, resources are used to their highest utility and value during their multiple lifecycles and reduced as much as possible.
  • Radically reduced emissions: Greenhouse gas emissions from developing, managing and processing PPP materials throughout their multiple lifecycles are reduced enough to make significant progress on provincial, federal and global science-based reduction targets to combat climate change.
  • Created an aligned and level playing field: Policies, incentives and financing mechanisms encourage circular economy solutions and reflect the true value and cost of PPP resources.
  • Been collaboratively designed: Manufacturers, brand-owners, service-providers, industry associations and policy-makers contribute to the design of a PPP system that supports a circular economy.
  • Educated, aligned and engaged consumers: Consumers are actively engaged in moving towards a circular economy, including driving change; learning resources and engagement opportunities on the circular economy for PPP are prevalent and accessible.
  • Enabled and amplified circular economy leadership: Innovative circular economy business models and leaders are recognized, amplified and enabled.
  • Transparent reporting by all actors: Progress towards a circular economy for PPP is regularly reported against established circular economy metrics and baselines by all relevant stakeholders in the system.
  • Highly effective resource management: Efficient, innovative collection and sorting systems exist that support the circular economy and promote, enable and encourage the maximum recovery of value from resources for future lifecycles of PPP materials.
  • Optimized every stage of the lifecycle: Processes at every stage of the PPP lifecycle (e.g. manufacturing, transportation, use) are highly efficient at eliminating waste, energy and materials and leveraging technology.
  • Improved social equity: Stakeholders at all points in the value chain support the conditions for social equity and inclusiveness in their operations and procurement practices.

Click here to see the Innovation Pathways for achieving this vision.