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

Wild Cowgirls Race set to dazzle crowd at 2019 Stampede

Each race will be contested on a three-eighths-of-a-mile track at the Stampede Grounds

LETTER: Let’s hear some of the benefits of rail tie burning

“I gave the management of the henhouse to the fox, all will be well.”

Williams Lake first-ever Pride in the Puddle parade approved by city council

The parade will be part a pride festival in the lakecity

Update: Council awards contract for RC Cotton pedestrian bridge

Council approved the $623,595 tender at the regular meeting Tuesday, June 26

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read