Does Cardboard Cause Deforestation? | Aylesbury Box Company
Feedback identified concerns about cardboard boxes not being sustainable, as they contributed to deforestation. Is this true?
cardboard, deforestation, packaging material, eco-friendly, cardboard boxes, recycling, FSC Certified packaging company, packaging manufacturer, EUDR, supply chain sustainability, sustainable packaging supplier, sustainable packaging,
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Does Cardboard Cause Deforestation?

stack of felled timber

Does Cardboard Cause Deforestation?

At the start of this year, we gathered feedback from customers about our products, services and eco-credentials. One respondent raised concerns about cardboard boxes not being sustainable, as they contributed to deforestation. This individual will not be alone in thinking this, so, we wanted to address the point.

Is Cardboard an Eco-friendly Packaging Material?

Cardboard is a paper-based product, which is produced using wood pulp. As such, trees have to be harvested as a raw material and, without effective controls and responsibly managed forests, this could result in deforestation. However, there are many ways that we actively minimise environmental impact. As a result, we can assure you that our cardboard is a eco-friendly packaging material.

Responsible Sourcing

Firstly, we are an FSC® certified packaging company. To achieve this, we have to evidence that all our production materials can be traced back to certified forests. In these forests, many more saplings are planted than trees felled. According to CEPI data*, responsible management increased EU forest by 14.4million hectares between 1990 and 2020. In addition, managed forests comply with measures to protect the biodiversity of flora and fauna.

Across our industry, 90% of all wood used in UK paper and cardboard production comes from certified forests**.

Widely Recycled Packaging Material

Secondly, cardboard is a widely recycled packaging material and the fibres can be reused many times to create new cardboard boxes. As cardboard breaks down easily, it can be reprocessed into new boxes within weeks. This efficient circular process reduces our reliance on raw materials.

The EU has a paper/cardboard recycling rate of 71.4%. In addition, 67% of the content of paper/cardboard products are from circular sources**. Most cardboard boxes have a higher percentage of recycled content and it is possible to have 100% recycled cardboard.

Legal Responsibility to Reduce Packaging Volume

The third point to mention is that, as a packaging manufacturer, we have a legal responsibility to help customers reduce the volume of packaging they use. We take this seriously and are proactive in offering advice that can reduce materials used without compromising quality or protection. We have helped many customers to encourage packaging reuse and recycling too.

EUDR – Anti Deforestation Regulations

There is more good news. Regulations will soon be introduced that specifically aim to tackle deforestation. Known as European Anti Deforestation Regulations (EUDR), these will:

  • Demand greater transparency and evidence of due diligence throughout the supply chain
  • Require forests to be inspected to assess responsible management
  • Make it easier to take legislative action if deforestation is identified
  • Better protect forests and the plants, wildlife and people that depend on them

EUDR will apply to forest owners and every operator and trader in the supply chain. In our industry, this includes saw mills, timber merchants, cardboard suppliers and packaging manufacturers. In addition to wood, EUDR will be a requirement for other products that have been the cause of deforestation. These include Palm Oil, Cocoa, Rubber, Coffee, Soy and Cattle.

Essentially, EUDR will require verifiable evidence that products do not contribute to deforestation. We already evidence supply chain sustainability, but welcome additional monitoring and action, as trees are a valuable resource that need protecting. We view compliance with EUDR as another positive step that is good for customers, ethical suppliers and our planet.

Sustainable Packaging Supplier

Using wood as a packaging material does raise questions about environmental impact. However, we hope that this article has addressed concerns that you might have about cardboard causing deforestation. To read more about how social and environmental sustainability underpins our operations, please see our Sustainability Policy.

To discuss your requirements for sustainable packaging solutions please get in touch. We advise on alternatives to plastic, 100% recycled cardboard boxes, promoting packaging reuse and reducing packaging volumes. Call our team on 01296 436888 or email



** Data shared by CEPI in The FSC & EUDR webinar:

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