Survey Finds Even Environmentally Indifferent Consumers Want Sustainable Shipping Options

According to Sifted, a leading logistics-data science platform, eco-conscious consumers are on the rise, and they want to buy from brands committed to being part of the climate change solution. As e-commerce continues to boom, this news bodes well for the corrugated packaging industry, whose products are made from renewable virgin or recycled fiber, are manufactured using mostly renewable carbon neutral energy, have an 89% recycle rate, and can be produced in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes to meet specific shipping needs.

In a recent survey of U.S. consumers conducted by Sifted, two-thirds of respondents said a brand’s eco-friendly shipping practices influenced a purchase decision. Only 21% of respondents say they never research a company’s eco-friendly practices before buying.

Frequent online shoppers are even more conscious of eco-friendly shipping practices. Eco-friendly practices are either “important” or “very important” to 72% of respondents who receive five or more packages per month, compared to 65% of those receiving one or two per month.

The bar is set even higher for name brands. Among respondents saying brand name is “very important” in purchase decisions, 51% frequently research a company’s eco-friendly practices before buying. In contrast, only 7% of the same group never investigate eco-friendly practices. In the past five years, 46% of brand loyalists have become “significantly more aware” and “care significantly more” about eco-friendly shipping practices. In addition, 91% believe packaging materials have a moderate or high impact on environmental sustainability.

81% of consumers believe companies use excessive packaging. Even less eco-conscious consumers think package sizes are getting out of hand. Of those that say eco-friendly practices are “not important” in their purchasing decisions, 56% still feel that most companies use excessive packaging. Even among participants that say they never research a company’s eco-friendly practices, 62% think it’s excessive.

The environmental impact of this isn’t lost on consumers, who overwhelmingly agree that packaging affects sustainability. 66% believe package size has a moderate to high impact on sustainability, and 74% believe packaging materials have a moderate to high impact.

The survey also found that 57% of consumers are willing to pay an extra 10% or more for eco-friendly shipping.  84% who place moderate or high important on shipping speed said they would be willing to wait an extra day for eco-friendly shipping while 66% said they would wait two extra days.

You can download the full Sifted survey report here.

 

Parents of Students in Grades K through 12 Show Overwhelming Preference for Printed Books Over Digital

The Book Manufacturers Institute (BMI) recently commissioned well-known pollster Frank Luntz to find out how parents view the effectiveness of various learning materials, including books, textbooks and workbooks. The most definitive conclusion was that virtually every parent wants physical materials as part of student learning. 85% of parents want physical books in some form, and 88% think they are important and essential learning tools.

In summarizing the study results, Luntz said, “With parents keenly aware of the shortcomings of online learning thanks to the pandemic, this finding is only surprising in its intensity and uniformity. Every demographic and geographic subgroup agrees: printed materials are essential to student learning.”

In the survey of 1,000 parents of K-12 school children across America, the results could not be more conclusive. Parents are deeply focused on what their children learn and, just as important, how they learn it: by a 69% to 31% margin, parents chose physical over online materials when given the option.

In every possible measurement, parents believe physical books will outperform online. From testing results to successful learning, from knowledge retention to focusing on the subject, parents simply believe the physical book is the superior teaching tool.

The survey showed that frustrations with online learning during COVID are real. More than 80% of parents from all backgrounds (including 74% of those who typically favor online materials) believe printed materials would have made their jobs helping their students learn from home easier.

“Parents are more engaged with their children’s education, and they want the help only physical books, textbooks and workbooks can provide,” Luntz said.

Parents cited distractions that students encounter with online materials, such as the ease of surfing the internet during instruction, as the No. 1 concern in moving away from physical printed materials. It’s why parents believe their kids will comprehend better using physical books and why over 70% of parents would prefer their kids hold a book rather than a tablet.

In addition to commissioning the national poll, BMI asked Dr. Naomi Baron, Professor Emerita of Linguistics at American University, to write a whitepaper that summarizes the scientific research around reading print versus digital and how each impacts learning. Dr. Baron explains, “An abundance of research now substantiates that yes, medium matters for learning. While both print and digital have roles to play, the evidence demonstrates the continuing importance of print for sustained, mindful reading, which is critical to the educational process.”

For complete survey results, visit the BMI website.

 

New Two Sides Survey Shows U.S. Consumers Believe Paper-based Packaging is Better for the Environment than Other Packaging Materials

Packaging Preferences Unpacked

 

CHICAGO – June 9, 2021 –  With physical stores closed during the pandemic, the boom in online shopping resulted in record numbers of packages arriving on consumers’ doorsteps. Along with all that merchandise came a growing awareness of the materials used to package and ship products, and the impact those materials have on the environment. A new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by international research firm Toluna found that U.S. consumers believe paper-based packaging is better for the environment than other packaging materials.

Paper: The preferred and sustainable packaging choice

Survey respondents were asked to rank their preferred packaging material (paper/cardboard, plastic, glass and metal) based on 15 environmental, aesthetic and practical attributes. Overall, paper/cardboard packaging was preferred for 10 of the 15 attributes, with half of respondents saying paper/cardboard is better for the environment. Consumers also preferred paper/cardboard packaging on other environmental attributes, including being home compostable (65%) and easier to recycle (44%).

Glass packaging was preferred by consumers for four practical and aesthetic attributes, including being reusable (39%), having a preferred look and feel (39%), providing a better image for the brand (38%) and better protection (35%).  45% preferred metal packaging for being strong and robust. Plastic packaging was not preferred for any of the 15 attributes but was ranked second for six attributes. Only one in 10 respondents believe plastic packaging is better for the environment.

Consumers demand that brands and retailers do more

Brands and retailers play a crucial role in driving innovation and the use of recyclable packaging. In response to increasing consumer pressure to operate more sustainably, brands and retailers in many sectors, from wine, spirits and soft drinks to candy, cosmetics and apparel are shifting from plastic to paper packaging.

The survey found that 49% of consumers would buy more from brands and retailers who remove plastic from their packaging, and 39% would consider avoiding a retailer that is not actively trying to reduce their use of non-recyclable packaging.

“It’s important for consumers to understand that just because packaging is recyclable does not mean it actually gets recycled,” explains Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “Around 66% of all paper and paper-based packaging and nearly 89% of corrugated cardboard gets recycled into new products in the U.S. These high recycling rates and expected increases are due to the paper industry’s already completed and continuing investment in recycling infrastructure, which between 2019 and 2023 will exceed $4 billion. In comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection reports that plastics, glass and metals are recycled at just 9%, 25% and 34%, respectively.”

Who should be responsible for reducing waste from single-use packaging?

As consumers, businesses and governments looks for ways to create a more sustainable, circular economy, waste from single-use packaging, particularly in marine environments, has come into sharp focus. When consumers were asked who has the greatest responsibility for reducing the use of non-recyclable, single-use packaging, more than a third (36%) said individuals have the primary responsibility, followed by 23% who believe it’s up to brands and retailers, 23% who believe it’s up to packaging manufacturers, and 18% who believe it’s the government’s responsibility.

“As the call for the circularity of product lifecycles grows louder, paper has always had a head start,” Rowzie says. “And the industry’s strong support and investment in recycling has transformed the circularity of paper packaging from vision to reality. At a time when there is growing alarm about the low recycled rates of other packaging materials, paper recycling is a striking exception.”

About Two Sides North America, Inc.

Two Sides North America (www.twosidesna.org) is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging, and dispels common environmental misconceptions about paper products. We are part of the Two Sides global network which operates across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

About the survey

The survey, Paper’s Place in a Post-pandemic World, queried a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older across the United States in January 2021.

DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE HERE.

Media contact

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America, Inc.

P:  937-999-7729

E:  info@twosidesna.org

 

 

What Consumers Don’t Know About the Sustainability of Paper Products

New Two Sides Survey Shows U.S. Consumers Underestimate Print and Paper Products’ Unique Contributions to a Circular Economy 

Download the press release here.

CHICAGO – April 22, 2021 – As U.S. consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the products they use every day, there remains a wide gap between perception and reality when it comes to the sustainability of paper products. This according to a new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by global research firm Toluna.  The survey, “Paper’s Place in a Post-Pandemic World,” sought to explore and better understand consumer perceptions, behaviors and preferences related to the sustainability of paper products.

“More and more consumers are factoring environmental impacts into their purchasing decisions, but all too often those decisions are based on pop culture myths and sensational, headline-driven journalism rather than fact,” says Two Sides North America President Kathi Rowzie. “As attention turns to developing a more sustainable, circular economy, the paper and paper-based packaging industry has a great, fact-based environmental story to tell: Paper is one the few products that can already claim to have a truly circular life cycle.”

What’s happening to the size of U.S. forest area?

Paper use is often blamed for forest loss, and 60% of those surveyed believe U.S. forests are shrinking. The fact: U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment. That’s an area equivalent to 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Contrary to the popular belief that manufacturing and using paper destroys forests, the demand for sustainably sourced paper and paper-based packaging creates a powerful financial incentive for landowners not only to manage and harvest their land responsibly, but also to keep it forested rather than converting it to non-forest uses, one of the real documented causes of forest loss.

What percentage of paper is recycled?

Paper recycling in the United States is a hands down environmental success story. But according to the survey, only 11% of consumers believe the U.S. recycling rate exceeds 60% and nearly a quarter believe it’s less that 20%.  The fact: More than two-thirds of all paper and paper-based packaging in the U.S. is recycled, and more than 90% of corrugated cardboard boxes is recycled according to the American Forest and Paper Association. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that paper is the most recycled material in the country, compared to plastics at 8.4%, glass at 26.6% and metals at 33.3%.

Is electronic communication more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication?

As the pandemic forced meetings, events and day-to-day business to online communication and consumers increasingly relied on the internet for news and information, 67% of those surveyed believe that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication. While consumers enjoy the convenience and the ability to work from home that electronic communication affords, they overlook the environmental impact of digital communication.

The facts: The EPA reports that the pulp and paper industry accounts for only 1.2% of U.S. industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and only 0.5% of total U.S. GHG emissions – which shouldn’t be surprising since two-thirds of the energy used to power U.S. paper industry operations is generated using renewable, carbon neutral biomass. In contrast, the energy consumption required for digital technologies is increasing 9% each year, and the share of digital technology in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could rise to 8% by 2025 according to The Shift Project, a carbon transition think tank.  And compared to paper’s recycling success story, the United States generates approximately 7 million metric tons of e-waste annually, but only 15% of that waste is recycled, according to the 2020 Global E-waste Monitor.

“The life cycle of paper products is circular by nature,” Rowzie explains. “The raw material used to make it is perpetually regrown, the energy used to manufacture it is generated using mostly carbon-neutral biofuel, and the circle is completed as used paper is recycled into new products at a higher rate than any other material.  Even so, our survey shows that misconceptions about the sustainability of paper products are commonplace. It’s just these types of misconceptions that Two Sides was created to correct.  We believe consumers have the right to make purchasing choices based on data and hard facts, free from pop mythology and misinformation.”

For more facts about the environmental sustainability of paper and paper-based packaging, visit www.twosidesna.org.

About Two Sides North America, Inc.

Two Side North America is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes the sustainability of print, paper and paper-based packaging, and dispels common environmental misconceptions about paper products.  We are part of the Two Sides global network which operates across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Media Contact:

Kathi Rowzie, President

Two Sides North America, Inc.

P:  937-999-7729

E:  info@twosidesna.org

 

Two Sides Responds to Misleading Claims about the Sustainability of Paper Products in Popular Science

An article titled “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” recently appeared in Popular Science.  Two Sides responded to the publication to set the record straight.

 

April 14, 2021

TO: Popular Science

RE: Article titled “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” published April 6, 2021

To the editors:

Myths about the sustainability of the North American paper industry and its products are common media fodder in today’s world of sensationalized, headline-driven journalism. This time it was the turn of Popular Science to weave together a collection of standard anti-paper tropes into your “Modern paper use is wildly unsustainable” article.

Shouldn’t a publication dedicated to reporting on science resist the easy narrative, hold up a submission to the illuminating glow of real authoritative data and pick up the phone to ask industry scientists or a school of forestry if any of what the authors claim makes sense?

After all, paper is not only the most recycled material in North America. It is a material whose industry grows and regrows its own feedstock (wood fiber), derives most of the power to drive its processes from carbon neutral biofuel, and recycles more than 95% of the chemicals it uses to turn trees into pulp. This is not “wildly unsustainable.” This is a description of some of the world’s most sustainable products.

You always know what’s coming when an article begins with the classic, bait-and-switch doomed forests appeal. The hook is baited by painting a mental picture for the reader of the destruction of faraway endangered forests like those in Borneo and the Amazon, and the switch is the implication that these forests are the source of trees for North America’s paper and paper-based packaging products.

Paper products manufactured in the United States and Canada come from sustainably managed forests in North America, and these forests are not “disappearing.” Net forest area in the United States increased by approximately 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, while Canada’s net forest area was stable between 1990 and 2020 at approximately 857 million acres.1

Each year, forests in North America grow significantly more wood than is harvested. In the United States, the net average annual increase in growing stock on timberland is about 25 billion cubic feet. Tree cutting and removal in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland per year in contrast to the nearly 3% disturbed annually by natural events like insects, disease, and fire.2 Harvesting occurs on 0.2% of Canada’s forestlands, while 4.7% is disturbed by insects and 0.5% is disturbed by fire.3

Contrary to the authors’ claim that manufacturing and using paper destroys forests, the demand for sustainably sourced paper and paper-based packaging creates a powerful financial incentive for landowners not only to manage and harvest their land responsibly, but also to keep it forested rather than converting it to non-forest uses, one of the real documented causes of forest loss.

The authors’ proposed solution to this non-problem of paper-caused forest loss is not the sure thing they claim it is: alternative fibers. Alternative fibers can be sustainably used in certain grades of paper and under certain circumstances, particularly in regions of the world like India and China where wood fiber is scarce. But their claim that “alternative materials have a fraction of the environmental impact” that tree fiber does is a gross exaggeration.  While a comprehensive life cycle assessment is required to determine the full environmental impacts of alternative fiber papers, some broad conclusions can be drawn.

To begin with, alternative fibers are often grown like agricultural crops, which means there will be no trees on the landscapes where they are planted, in perpetuity. Forestlands that are harvested for tree fiber are replanted or allowed to grow back naturally. Also like agricultural crops, alternative fiber crops typically require more water and pesticides and generate more wastewater runoff than forests. And since, unlike trees, there is little residual biomass in alternative fibers, the process of converting them to paper must rely more on fossil fuels.

Moreover, global statistics on forests do not suggest that the use of alternative fiber paper products would protect forests for the long-term. The regions of the world that consume the least amount of wood are those that have the highest rates of deforestation.1

The authors are correct that paper products as a whole are recycled at over 60% in the United States. In fact, the figure is closer to 66%, and 70% in Canada, but even these statistics are only half the story. Some paper products, like corrugated boxes are recycled at rates of over 90%, demonstrating the potential for overall recycling rates to go even higher.4,5

The North American paper industry has invested tens of millions of dollars in capital-intensive recycling technology, as well as the collection and transportation systems to support it. As of the most recent survey, over 80% of all paper mills in the United States use recovered fiber as at least part of their fiber source. The investments are paying off as newer equipment and processes are allowing the paper mills to repulp post-consumer paper that was once unusable, including more of the paper cups and soiled pizza boxes mentioned by the authors.

Neither should your readers be concerned about “chlorine-based bleaches used to make paper whiter.” As the authors correctly noted, there are “restrictions on the kinds of bleach that paper companies can use,” but the story doesn’t end there. Over the last three decades, massive voluntary industry investment and stricter environmental regulations have combined to drive major advances in bleaching technology. Since the authors specifically refer to  “modern” paper making, let’s be clear: today’s state-of-the art mill processes have dramatically reduced the chances that the substances referred to by the authors can be released into the environment.

Yes, by all means, we should retrain our brains. But let’s start by resisting the urge to cut and paste the same tired myths into sensational retread articles. Let’s start with a fresh look at the truly “modern” production and use of paper and build the training on a foundation of real-world data and science.

Sincerely,

Kathi Rowzie

President

Two Sides North America

 

1UN Food and Agriculture Organizations, 2020

2 USDA Forest Services, 2019

3 Natural Resources Canada, 2020

4 American Forest and Paper Association, 2020

5 Forest Products Association of Canada, 2020

 

Two Sides Fact Sheet Corrects Common Environmental Misconceptions About the Canadian Paper and Paper-based Packaging Industry

The Canadian Paper and Paper-based Packaging industry is among the most sustainable industries in the world, but there are still significant gaps between public perceptions and actual fact when it comes to related environmental topics such as forestry, greenhouse gas emissions and recycling. For example, a recent Two Sides survey found that Canadian consumers rank pulp and paper products as a leading cause of deforestation – which they are not.

In Two Sides’ just-released fact sheet on the sustainability of the Canadian Paper and Paper-based Packaging industry, you’ll find a host of facts from credible third-party sources that set the record straight.

For example:

  • Deforestation is defined as the conversion of forest to other land uses whether human-induced or not. The definition specifically excludes areas where trees have been removed as a result of harvesting or logging and where the forest is expected to regenerate naturally or with the aid of silvicultural [sustainable forest management] measures. – UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020
  • At the end of 2019, Canada had over 168 million hectares of independently certified forest land (to either CSA®, SFI® or FSC®). Nearly half of Canada’s forests are certified and 37% of all certified forests worldwide are in Canada, the largest area of any country. – Natural Resources Canada, 2020
  • The forest sector’s ability to generate its own electricity, largely from bioenergy, has reduced its reliance on fossil fuels. Between 2007 and 2017, the forest sector reduced energy use by 24% and total fossil GHG emissions (direct emissions plus indirect emissions from purchased electricity) by 40%. – Natural Resources Canada, 2020
  • Canada recycles almost 70% of its paper and cardboard, making it among the top paper recycling countries in the world. – Forest Products Association of Canada, 2020

Two Sides members are permitted to co-brand the fact sheet with their own company logos.  For more information on co-branding, please contact info@twosidesna.org.

Download the fact sheet here.

Paper Packaging – The Natural Choice

New Packaging Facts Booklet Shares the Great Sustainability Story of Paper-based Packaging

The paper-based packaging industry has long been committed to continuous environmental performance improvement and to transparently conveying the environmental impacts of its operations and products. With growing consumer, business and political interest in packaging and its role in the transition to a more sustainable, circular economy, the opportunities to communicate the inherently sustainable benefits of paper-based packaging with straightforward, credible and relatable information are greater than ever before.

Paper Packaging – The Natural Choice provides 7 powerful reasons why paper-based packaging is the natural choice for brands, retailers and consumers, and offers a wide range of supporting facts from credible third-party sources. By fostering a better understanding of the industry’s environmental credentials, Two Sides seeks to ensure that paper products, through their myriad uses, remain an essential part of everyday life.

Two Sides members are permitted to co-brand Paper Packaging – The Natural Choice with their company logos to supplement their own sustainability communications. A print-ready version of the booklet along with co-branding instructions can be found in the General Resources folder on the Members Only website portal.  For help accessing the Members Only portal, contact info@twosidesna.org.

Download Paper Packaging – The Natural Choice here.

Give the Holiday Gift that Keeps on Giving: Recycle!

The holidays are here!  And as always, paper will play an important part in our celebrations – from shopping bags, gift boxes and decorations to greeting cards and cardboard shipping boxes. And after the holidays are over, you can give a gift that keeps on giving by recycling. The paper and paper-based packaging you recycle this holiday season extends the life of a valuable natural resource (wood fiber from trees), prevents waste from going to landfills and avoids the release of greenhouse gas emissions that occur when paper decomposes in landfills. And who knows, it might just end up as part of someone else’s holiday celebration next year!

Nearly all Americans and Canadians have access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs, and both Americans and Canadians are clearly committed to recycling – not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. The U.S. recovers 66% of its paper and paperboard packaging and 92% of corrugated cardboard for recycling annually.  Canada recovers nearly 70% of its paper and paper-based packaging and 85% of corrugated cardboard.

Even so, the wide array of holiday-related paper items in our homes can confuse even the most dedicated recycler. To help clear up any confusion about what should and should not go into your recycling bin, here are some tips from the American Forest and Paper Association.

Cardboard boxes. The cardboard boxes you received on your doorstep from shopping online are designed to be recycled. Remove any non-paper packing materials (like air pillows or foam peanuts), break boxes down flat, keep them dry and clean and place them in the recycling bin. You don’t need to remove shipping labels or tape. Even if your box is dented, beat up, ripped or even a little dirty from the shipping process, it can still be recycled.

Greeting cards and envelopes.  Paper greeting cards and envelopes can be put in the recycling bin. Don’t worry about removing the stamp from the envelope – the recycling process takes care of that for you. But if your cards include glitter, metallic accents, plastic or other materials that can’t be removed, they should be placed in the trash.

Paper gift bags.  Paper gift bags can be put in the recycling bin. However, gift bags made with plastic, foil-coated paper, fabric or other materials will need to go in the trash can if you can’t reuse them. If your paper gift bag has non-paper handles, glitter or beads, those things need to be removed before placing the bag in the recycling bin.

Wrapping paper.  Wrapping made from paper that does not have a plastic coating can be recycled in many municipalities. Foil, cellophane and plastic-coated wrapping paper, as well as paper with glitter, cannot be recycled.

Tissue paper.  Tissue paper can typically be recycled as long as it’s not metallic or glittery.

Ribbons and bows.  Unfortunately, ribbons and bows are not accepted in recycling bins. If you can’t reuse them, put them in the trash.

If you’re unsure of your community’s recycling guidelines, BeRecycled.org offers a nationwide lookup system that can lead you to the right spot for your town’s recycling rules.

If you’ve checked your local guidelines and are still unsure about recycling a particular item, throw it out. Putting items in your recycling bin that can’t be recycled can jam recycling equipment and contaminate recyclable paper that otherwise could be made into new products.

For more information, check out our fact sheet on Paper Recovery and Recycling.

Are North American Forests Really Shrinking? What the Data Tell Us

Across all environmental issues related to the manufacture of paper-based products in North America, the harvesting of trees for wood fiber is arguably the most familiar, yet also the most misunderstood. Decades of misguided marketing messages that suggest using less paper protects forests along with deliberate anti-paper campaigns by environmental groups that twist scientific facts to suit their own agendas have left many feeling guilty for using products that are inherently sustainable. They are made from a renewable resource, are recyclable and are among the most recycled products in the world, and are manufactured using a high level of renewable energy – all key elements in a circular economy.

So, what’s the most effective way to reverse the misconceptions of those who believe the North American print, paper and paper-based packaging industry is shrinking U.S. and Canadian forests? It’s simple: Show them the data.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been monitoring the world’s forests at five- to 10-year intervals since 1946. The FAO’s 2020 global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which this important resource changed between 1990 and 2020. The data from 236 countries were collected using commonly agreed upon terms and definitions through a transparent, traceable reporting process and a well-established network of officially nominated national representatives. These include the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Canada.

Since 1990, there has been a net loss of 440 million acres of forests globally, an area larger than the entire state of Alaska. A net change in forest area is the sum of all forest losses (deforestation) and all forest gains (forest expansion) in a given period.  FAO defines deforestation as the conversion of forest to other land uses, regardless of whether it is human-induced. FAO specifically excludes from its definition areas where trees have been removed by harvesting or logging because the forest is expected to regenerate naturally or with the aid of sustainable forestry practices.

In contrast, despite deforestation by urban development, fire, insects and other causes, total forest area in the United States actually increased and forest area in Canada has remained stable since 1990.  This is due in great part to sustainable forest management practices implemented by the North American paper and forest products industry, the highest percentage of certified forests (nearly 50%) in the world, and laws and regulations aimed at protecting forest resources.

Global Data

The world has a total forest area of around 10 billion acres or 31% of total land area. More than half (54%) of these forests are in just five countries – the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China.

Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020 at 9.6 million acres, followed by South America, at 6.4 million acres.

While the net loss of 440 million acres of forest is troubling, there is some improvement in the global numbers. The rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over the period 1990–2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation (establishing forest where none existed previously) and the natural expansion of forests. The annual rate of net forest loss declined from 19.2 million acres in 1990–2000 to 12.8 million acres in 2000–2010 and 11.6 million acres in 2010–2020.

While an estimated 1.04 billion acres of forest have been lost worldwide to deforestation since 1990, the rate of deforestation also declined substantially. Between 2015 and 2020, the annual global rate of deforestation was estimated at around 25 million acres, down from 30 million acres between 2010 and 2015.

Globally, 54% of forests have long-term forest management plans. FAO defines forest management as the process of planning and implementing practices for the stewardship and use of forests targeted at specific environmental, economic, social and cultural objectives. Around 96% of forestlands in Europe has management plans, 64% in Asia, less than 25% in Africa and only 17% in South America.

U.S. and Canada Data

According to the 2020 FRA, the United States and Canada account for 8% and 9%, respectively, of the world’s total forest area.

In the U.S., total forest area increased by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, which averages out to the equivalent of around 1,200 NFL football fields every day. Canada’s total forest area remained relatively stable over the 30-year assessment period at approximately 857 million acres.

Approximately 59% of forestlands in North America has long-term forest management plans.

Help Spread the Word!

The North American print, paper and paper-based packaging industry plays a significant role in keeping U.S. and Canadian forests sustainable for future generations, and that’s something to be very proud of.  One of the best ways to show that pride is by taking every available opportunity to bust the myth that the production of paper products destroys forests.  For more facts to help you spread the word, check out our Two Sides fact sheet on Paper Production and Sustainable Forestry here.

 

 

As online shopping continues to grow, brands should consider consumers’ packaging preferences

The coronavirus pandemic’s demand-shock, brick-and-mortar store closures and stay-at-home orders have upended retail sales. As total spending declines, online spending is projected to surge by 18% in 2020, reflecting the impact of new buyers joining the online retail space as a result of the pandemic.  With ecommerce expected to reach 14.5% of total retail sales this year – both an all-time high and the biggest ever share increase in a single year* – the findings of Two Sides’ recent U.S. Packaging Preferences Survey provide brand owners with valuable insights into consumers’ current thinking on packaging materials, online shopping and related behavior.

  • More than half of consumers (57%) prefer products ordered online to be delivered in paper/cardboard packaging, and two-thirds (66%) believe paper/cardboard packaging is better for the environment than other types of packaging.
  • 70% of consumers prefer products ordered online to be delivered in appropriate fitting packaging, i.e., not too big for the size of the product inside.
  • Consumers across the United States are willing to change their behavior to shop more sustainably. Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) are willing to spend more on a product if it is packaged using sustainable materials, and more than a third (36%) said they would consider avoiding a retailer who is not taking steps to reduce their use of non-recyclable packaging.
  • When asked to rank their preferred packaging materials (paper and cardboard, glass, metal or plastic) based on 15 environmental, practical and visual/tactile attributes, paper and cardboard packaging ranked highest on 11 of 15 attributes, including being home compostable (69%) and easier to recycle (51%).
  • Glass packaging ranked highest among consumers on three practical and tactile/visual attributes, including being reusable (36%), having a preferred look and feel (32%) and providing better protection (29%).  Nearly half of respondents (47%) ranked metal packaging highest for being strong and robust. Plastic packaging was not ranked highest for any of the 15 attributes but was ranked second highest for seven attributes.
  • The survey showed that paper/cardboard is correctly considered by consumers to be the most recycled packaging material, but only 24% think the U.S. recycling rate for paper/cardboard packaging exceeds 60%. In fact, 73% of all paper-based packaging in the United States is recycled, and 88% of cardboard is recycled, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Consumer attitudes toward plastic are clear, with 57% of survey respondents indicating they are actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging, 36% saying they would avoid retailers if they knew they were not actively trying to reduce their use of non-recyclable plastic packaging, and 44% saying the use of non-recyclable packaging should be discouraged through taxation.

“Only time will tell the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s little doubt that it is already changing many aspects of modern life, including the way we shop for everything from groceries, beauty items and health-related products to electronics, sports equipment and pet supplies,” says Two Sides Vice President of Operations Kathi Rowzie.

“Shopping online will become the new normal for many consumers as companies enhance their supply chains, get more efficient at packaging and order fulfillment, and speed up delivery. It’s also clear that growing awareness of sustainable packaging choices is becoming a driving force in consumer purchasing decisions. As brand owners rethink their packaging strategies to align with current market realities and consumer preferences, paper-based packaging stands out as a natural choice.”

The Two Sides Packaging Preferences Survey 2020 was conducted by independent research firm Toluna.  Download the full report here.                                                        

*eMarketer, US Ecommerce, 2020

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