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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Williams Lake RCMP capture fugitive walking along Highway 97 in city limits

Witness said they could hear police yelling for suspect to ‘get down’

Disaster recovery resources available for CRD residents impacted by flooding

Deadline is Aug. 5, 2020 to apply for disaster financial assistance

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Williams Lake approves temporary liquor establishment area expansions due to COVID-19

Liquor Control and Regulation Branch issues application process for interested businesses

Williams Lake council seeks public feedback on First Nations shovel-ready cannabis facility

Williams Lake Indian Band’s farm-to-gate store will be built on First Nations land within city limits

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read