Renewable Materials

Renewable Materials

For a material to be considered renewable it should come from a source which:

  • Is generated from other sources
  • Which can reasonably be expected to be replenished on an ongoing bases for the foreseeable future

This includes both:

  • “Natural” routes (from plants or bio-organisms)”
  • Artificial” routes (From by products, waste etc)
  • Such routes are generally considered “Cyclic”: A -> B -> C -> A


Paper and Board is made from wood pulp which comes from trees or paper/board waste.
Trees can be grown to replace the resource.
Recycled material allows waste to be re-used and the process re-generates more re-usable waste.
But this is not necessarily sustainable!

Need for Managed Forests

Unless forests are managed, trees levels can drop, soil systems be eroded and diversity and eco-systems lost.
So it is important wood pulp comes from suitably managed forests.
There are many internationally recognised Forest Management Schemes.
Although the exact merits and weaknesses of each scheme will vary, ALL recognised schemes offer a level of sustainability which would otherwise be missing.

Managed Forest Schemes

The four most widely adopted and recognised schemes worldwide (over 90% of certified forests) are:

  • PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes)
  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)
  • SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative)
  • CSA (Canadian Standards Association)

Recognition of Forest Management

Rapid Action Packaging does not judge Internationally Recognised Sustainable Forest Management schemes. We Support them.

Recycled Board

In simple terms, recycled board is any board which contains a “significant” amount of recycled content.

  • Board mills, Printers


  • Council and Private recycling schemes

Recycled Board can carry the legally controlled Recycled Logo.

Need for Recycling Definitions

Defining a Recycled material is less obvious than might be thought:

  • Most packaging materials contain some level of recycled material
  • Most packaging contains recyclable components
  • The law does not exactly define the % of recycled or recyclable material required

Definition of “Recycled”

Although the law does not fully define this there are “Industry Standards”:

  • They are acknowledged within the trade
  • They are required by many major retailers
  • To be called “Recycled” a board should contain more than 50% recycled material


Generally produced from mineral oils there are however alternatives (in order of renewability):

  • Biodegradable Plastics, made from renewable materials
  • PLA (Corn Starch)
  • Natureflex (Cellulose from Wood Fibre)
  • Bio-plastics, containing natural resins
  • Recycled

Other Components

Coatings, Inks, Varnish & Adhesives present in all packaging and containing non-renewable components they should:

  • Minimise quantity and solvents (UV, WB, Solid)
  • Utilise renewable components where possible
  • Be non-toxic, environmentally safe and in full compliance with Packaging Waste Regulations