FOREST INK: BC and Canadian pulp industry doing better

The recent announcement of the Tolko lumber mill closure in Quesnel this fall is not a surprise considering the imminent shortage of logs due to beetles and wildfires.

With the anticipated loss of lumber production one would assume a loss of wood chips for the pulp and paper industry would mean mill closures here as well.

Some recent announcements of pulp mills would seem to indicate otherwise, so what is happening? Last fall the premier noted that the recent sale of three paper mills was a vote of confidence in the industry and people of B.C.

Investments and acquisitions have been taking place in all of the western provinces with emphasis on pulp mills producing a wide variety of heavy paper products.

READ MORE: Community forests have many advantages for rural communities

When we talk about reducing the use of paper and we push for paperless offices and we note the decline in newspaper print and push toward online media, one would suspect a future decrease in the pulp and paper industry.

While the younger generation no doubt favours the digital media there are still enough people who like printed material to make hard copies a significant product. Based in the volume of flyers with the local newspapers it appears that business feel paper advertising is still worth the expenditure.

It doesn’t hurt that we won a small victory when a U.S. International Trade Commission overturned duties on Canadian newsprint.

No doubt the pressure on using less plastics (especially single use plastic straws, stir sticks, bags etc.) may be providing more options for paper based products as well.

According to a study of world consumption by Chester Cheng, Manager at Paper Industry, the tonnage of paper being produced per year for packaging (such as boxes), and hygiene (tissue) is growing at a steady clip.

The raw tonnage of paper produced and consumed is still increasing per year. So the declines in Printing and Writing paper are more than offset by the growth in paper packaging and hygiene products.

The global average paper usage per person, the metric Kilogram of Paper consumption per Capita — is poised to increase since a lot of emerging economies still have per-capita consumption of paper that’s about 1/3 to 1/2 of that in developed economies. Plus their populations are much larger.

READ MORE: Saw filers are critical for the forest industry

A recent discussion on the CBC proposed alternatives to plastic bags which could include the use of biodegradable bags for pet owners so that it would be easier for the owners to flush the refuse down the toilet rather than it ending up in the land fill. Alternate methods of pet refuse disposal have already been adopted in some Canadian cities.

From a BC and Western Canadian perspective while the lumber log volumes will suffer a decline there should still be a significant volume of small stem volumes (live and dead) that will be available for pulp and chips for engineered wood products as well as bioenergy needs.

At least for the next few decades government , industry and the public will need make necessary adjustments to use wood volumes that have been ignored up to this time.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.

Just Posted

Local family grieves loss of son after Highway 97 collision

Jose Jackson is the second person to die as a result of the Aug. 2 incident

Police name second suspect, lay kidnapping and attempted murder charges in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incidents

Drynock is considered dangerous, do not approach him and call the local RCMP detachment immediately

WLIB receives a federal grant for new Stampede display

As of 2019, is has been 100 years since the first Williams Lake Stampede

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

BC SPCA reopens animal cruelty investigation at Abbotsford pig farm

Additional alleged footage released from Excelsior Hog Farm sparks new investigation

Donor upset no one noticed B.C. school’s sculpture had been missing for a year

Agassiz’s Fraser River Lodge owner baffled how theft went undetected

Purple fentanyl among items seized in B.C. drug bust

Youth being recruited as drivers for more-established drug dealers, police say

Fatal overdoses in B.C. drop 30% during first half of year

A total of 538 people have died between January and June, BC Coroners Service reports

VIDEO: B.C. RCMP officer’s stunt at motorcycle festival prompts internal investigation

The officer was part of a stunt event at the Squamish Motorcycle Festival

Most Read