3 Things You Might Not Know About Paper Packaging and the Environment

We’re always looking for new ways to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way. Which is why, as much as we love how our ice cream makes people happy, we can’t ignore the impact of our packaging on the climate and environment.

Here’s why we think that changing the way we package our pints can make a big difference.

3 things you might not know

Strengthening Our Commitment to Sustainable Packaging

We’ve been working for years to reduce our carbon footprint and the overall effect our business has on the planet. Our packaging is an area where we think significant change may be possible. While we use post-consumer fiber in certain applications, we don’t use it in our pints. While we already make our pints from FSC-certified paperboard, we know there is still room for improvement—and that’s why we’re looking into ways to use post-consumer fiber and alternative fibers/agricultural residues instead.

Agricultural residues? Post-consumer what? We know, some of the terminology can be confusing. Hopefully these definitions will help clear things up.

Post-consumer fiber: Material that has been used by households or by commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities; things like used paper and cardboard or old newspapers and magazines.

FSC-certified: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits, based on global FSC standards.

Alternative fibers/agricultural residues: These are “tree-free” materials used to make paper and packaging. Alternative fibers/agricultural residues can come from things like kenaf, hemp, bagasse, wheat straw, and more. In many cases, these materials are currently being burned or left to decompose—why not use them for packaging instead?

Canopy’s Pack4Good Initiative

Basically, if people keep cutting down trees and putting pressure on our world’s ancient and endangered forests, there won’t be enough trees left to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—with dire consequences for the climate… and for us.

Using FSC-certified trees to make our pint packaging is better than using non-FSC trees (and it’s preferable to using plastic, of course), but we’re excited to explore innovative fiber alternatives and take other steps to better protect the planet. Which is why we joined Canopy’s Pack4Good initiative.

Canopy is an award-winning nonprofit whose mission is to protect the world’s forests, species, and climate and help advance Indigenous rights.

As a Pack4Good partner, we will:

  • Reduce material use through packaging design innovation
  • Maximize recycled and alternative next-generation fibers
  • Use FSC-certified wood whenever virgin forest fiber still has to be used
  • Ensure that we never use Ancient and Endangered Forest fiber
  1. Paper packaging uses a lot of trees

    Three billion trees are cut down every year to meet the global demand for paper packaging. How many trees is that? Imagine an area the size of Germany, or 2.5 times the size of New York, being cleared each year.

    That’s why focusing on reducing materials and using recycled paper and alternative fibers in packaging is so important.

  2. Cutting down trees is terrible for the climate

    This won’t be a shock to most of you, but it turns out that cutting down 3 billion trees each year hurts the climate! All that logging produces about 2.75 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2 is one of the major greenhouse gasses that’s contributing to climate change and warming the planet). That’s equal to the annual CO2 produced by 250,000,000 cars—as many as the total number of cars in China.

  3. Turning trees into paper has a huge impact on the environment

    Paper mills, which turn those trees into paper products, are the largest industrial consumer of water in the world’s richest countries.

    They pollute water too, destroying habitats and endangering drinking water for surrounding communities. In fact, the pulp and paper industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. In the US, it’s responsible for 21% of all releases of toxic waste into the air.

    But there IS good news: The EPA says that recycled paper causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than paper made with virgin materials.

Help Us Protect the World’s Forests!

About 60% of all paper produced is used for packaging. As Canopy puts it, they’re working to ensure that the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests “don’t end up as pizza or shipping boxes.”

The UN Environment Program estimates that cutting deforestation and promoting forest regrowth could reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 30%. Reducing packaging and using alternative fibers is key if we really want to fight climate change.

Canopy is working with us and 346 other brand partners through Pack4Good. If your favorite brands aren’t on their list, speak up and get involved! Tell them to join Pack4Good today.