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On the path to a circular economy, there's no straight line | Greenbiz – GreenBiz



This article is sponsored by WestRock.

The path toward a circular economy is more of an angled one than a straight line and more nuanced than the “all or nothing” language that is often employed in sustainability conversations. 

When I joined WestRock as the company’s new chief sustainability officer in December 2020, I came with the philosophy of working toward a more circular future, one step at a time, leveraging pivotal collaborations, and celebrating incremental successes. As a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, we at WestRock are in an important position, not only to embody sustainable change, but innovate for it in a way that encourages our customers to adapt to a more sustainable packaging model. Here’s how we’re leading the way down the winding path to circularity. 

Defining the Circular Economy

Every step of the way on the path to circularity we are thinking about how we can generate less waste and more opportunities to extend the usefulness of materials. The relationship packaging companies and landowners have with forests truly is symbiotic. We all want to keep forests healthy, so we can continue making the best use of this remarkable and renewable resource. So, at WestRock, we start with the trees. How can the company ensure forests are growing sustainably? How can the company ensure that the 10,000 private landowners WestRock engages with annually, and their stakeholders, are adequately educated on the importance of sustainable land management? Virgin fiber is an important part of the circular economy, and responsible oversight of this sustainable forest resource is critically important to WestRock.

WestRock’s Innovative Fiber-Based Solutions for Various Companies

The very nature of WestRock’s business model is circular — from producing fiber-based packaging to recycling the fibers from packages consumers use in the production of new packages. 

The key to effectively working toward a more circular economy is so much about knowing the right people to partner with and having the patience to see that incremental progress can have a long-lasting sustainability impact.   

As an Ellen MacArthur Foundation member, WestRock is connected with some of the greatest minds collaborating to work toward a more circular economy. With partners including the American Forest Foundation and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, we are thinking about the circular economy at large, and at every stage of a product’s lifecycle — that means the company is resourcing, designing, reusing and recycling with circular economy principles at the center of its strategy.

With its automated packaging solutions, fiber-based alternatives to plastics and a portfolio of fiber-based packaging that is rightsized — and, in many cases, reusable, recyclable or compostable — WestRock is providing brands in the CPG space, and more, with insights on how they can incorporate fiber-based solutions into their products. WestRock’s customers are coming to us for a vision and plan to develop tailored sustainability solutions that support their sustainability goals. I remember growing up as a child, cutting the plastic six-pack rings before we threw them away for fear of the impact they would have on wildlife, so it gives me great joy to see WestRock innovate a fiber-based alternative, CanCollar, that gives soda’s plastic six-pack ring a more sustainable makeover.

We have to be good listeners. What is the market telling us? We’re listening to consumers, customers and beyond, including the investment community too. Right now, investors are telling us sustainability is a priority. On that note, I’m really excited that in 2020, WestRock was named to the DJSI World and DJSI North America Indices. 

Consumers and Sustainability: Navigating Competing Priorities Amid the Pandemic 

Consumers are actively looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment moving forward.

I was intrigued and encouraged by the results of a WestRock Pulse Packaging survey to gauge consumer attitudes where we found 82 percent agreed it is important for brands to balance safety and concern for the environment when designing product packaging; there were notable increases in the demand for packaging that is easily reused, easily identifiable as environmentally friendly, and easily recycled. While the great debate at the grocery checkout has been “paper or plastic,” that conversation is heading into the aisles where consumers are holding products to a higher sustainability standard. 

WestRock is proactively coming up with solutions that help usher brands further and further away from the tradition of single-use plastics — challenging traditional notions of what should be plastic and innovating for fiber-based alternatives that perform as well, if not better, with less impact on the planet. 

I mentioned the Coca-Cola CanCollar earlier. That’s just one example of WestRock’s fiber-based plastic replacement innovations. Solving for tear resistance and theft deterrence, WestRock produced a fiber-based package for First Alert that replaced a fully enclosed PET blister clamshell with a NatraLock®  blister card, a sturdy, flexible, more sustainable alternative to traditional blister seal and clamshell applications. In the health and beauty sector, EcoPush® is an all-paperboard package that directly houses oil-based solids such as balm, solid perfume, deodorant and other oil-based solids. Not only is the exterior fiber-based, but by lining the interior with an oil-resistant paper barrier, WestRock was able to extend the fiber-based benefits throughout the packaging. Also in the health and beauty sector, the WestRock Paper Palette replaces all plastic elements used in ordinary makeup palettes with fiber. 

Innovating for fiber-based solutions that operate like plastic is just one element of working toward a more circular economy. Companies need to get active and get clear with consumer when talking about recycled content. There are so many myths and misconceptions. 

Here’s the thing, 100 percent recycled content is not a sustainable option at scale. Fibers can only be recycled five to seven times before they simply drop out of the papermaking process. We need to incorporate virgin fibers to increase the longevity of fiber cycles in packaging. Our minds love the tidiness of 100 percent, and our hearts connect with the passion of an all or nothing promise. But the truth is, virgin fibers play a pivotal role in promoting greater sustainability and performance, which is why WestRock prioritizes sustainable forestry as an invaluable aspect of recycled content. 

How WestRock Innovates for Its Own Clients

WestRock is seeing increased interest in tamper-evident packaging and anti-microbials. Our innovation team recently developed its BioPak Protect™, a fiber-based food container that features a tamper-evident pull tab seal similar to those used on mailer packages. We’re also seeing a lot of traction around increasing the recyclability of foodservice packaging. WestRock’s EnShield® Natural Kraft paper for foodservice packaging resists grease and oil stains by providing the same protection as poly-coating without the plastic. And with the food bowl industry booming, WestRock has introduced a new automation technology for the fast-growing food bowl segment, CP eMerge™ Combo  (a fiber-based alternative to plastic food bowls).

Of course, everyone is always looking for the rightsized packaging. WestRock’s BoxSizer®  intelligent right-sizing technology is the only machine on the market that can right size multiple preloaded box footprints arriving at random to the infeed without the need for changeovers. It does this with folding, not cutting, so no material is wasted. I am really excited about the work our team will continue to do, scaling right-size packaging options for our customers without compromising the product’s value. 

The Role of Education – Both Consumer and Sustainability, at large – in the Circular Economy

WestRock has 18 recycling plants across the U.S. that recycle 8 million tons of materials per year — which eclipses its 5.5 million tons of recycled fiber consumption. The company recycles more fiber than it uses. 

Through a partnership with The Recycling Partnership, WestRock is working to increase awareness of recyclability and educate consumers. In 2019, to help dispel the myth that corrugated pizza boxes are not recyclable, WestRock commissioned a study of the availability of recycling programs in the U.S. for corrugated pizza boxes. In 2020, WestRock delved into this further, conducting a grease and cheese study that concluded normal amounts of grease and residual cheese do not negatively affect the manufacturing of new products from this recycled fiber. This study was reviewed and endorsed by industry partners that validated the findings, confirming corrugated pizza boxes could actually be recycled at least seven times. This work will be expanded in 2021 to deliver Sustainable Choices — a pizza box recycling educational program — to pizza box customers and pizza consumers across the U.S. 

This is incredibly important because Americans consume A LOT of pizza, and those boxes are made of high-quality corrugated paper, as I previously mentioned. We’re looking at more than 600,000 tons of corrugated board a year that could be recycled from pizza boxes alone. 

As the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales, Domino’s helped share this information with the launch of Recycle My Pizza Box — a hub of information about proper pizza box recycling where visitors can input their ZIP code to find out about recycling in their municipality. 

As we move forward, many e-commerce habits are going to stick. With more recycling happening at the curb instead of at stores, investments in improving residential recycling infrastructure will be necessary. WestRock invested $2 million to upgrade its Marietta, Georgia, facility in October 2020 to improve single stream recycling efficiency. We continue to consider other areas for investment and partnership to make curbside recycling more efficient. 

I’m also looking forward to expanding efforts to engage with family forest owners about how to sustainably manage their forests. It’s astonishing to think that family forest owners comprise the largest source of wood in the U.S.—36 percent compared to just 19 percent that is corporately owned. It’s essential to equip these families with the tools, education and resources they need to understand how to protect and promote sustainable growth.

How WestRock is Addressing Its Challenges 

There’s a regulatory landscape that’s shifting with the new federal administration. WestRock’s investments in its internal capacity enable the company to meet this moment. The company’s hiring of a chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of innovation, both with growing teams, is indicative of that commitment. The sustainability team works closely with the innovation team to drive strategy, communicate customer priorities, and sustainability opportunities enabling us to general innovative sustainable packaging solutions. 

I mentioned persistence before. Working toward a circular economy requires us all to be agents of change with focus. Everything is moving so quickly — from our news cycles to our ability to click a button on our phones and have a product at our door sometimes as soon as hours later.  This is a three-, five-, 10-year journey — change doesn’t happen overnight. True, lasting, sustainable impact is incremental and endures. By listening, partnering with stakeholders and offering innovative solutions, WestRock will continue to advance the circular economy, partnering with our customers to create a more sustainable future.

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Delta variant of COVID-19 now makes up nearly 4 in 10 cases in B.C., data shows – Global News



New data from the BC Centre for Disease control shows that the highly-transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 has grown to nearly four in 10 cases in the province, up from fewer than one in 10 just two weeks before.

The data comes as the province reported more than 100 new cases in a 24-hour period for the first time in five weeks.

The BCCDC released the data Friday, which covers the week of July 11 to July 15.

Read more:
B.C. reports over 100 new COVID-19 cases for first time in five weeks

BC Centre for Disease Control.

Read more:
96% of COVID-19 cases are among those not fully vaccinated, B.C. health officials say

Click to play video: 'B.C. reports 112 new COVID-19 cases, four new deaths'

B.C. reports 112 new COVID-19 cases, four new deaths

B.C. reports 112 new COVID-19 cases, four new deaths

Out of 376 cases recorded that week, the Delta variant, first identified in India, made up 39 per cent of cases, while the Gamma variant, first identified in Brazil, made up 40 per cent. The Alpha variant, first identified in the U.K., made up 17 per cent of cases.

Last week, the BCCDC reported the Delta variant made up 33 per cent of cases, while the week before it was just eight per cent.

Research has found that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant, but only when people receive both doses.

Read more:
Delta COVID-19 variant now behind more than 80% of new U.S. cases 

Partially vaccinated people remain at a much greater risk of contracting it or becoming seriously ill.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday that 96 per cent of new cases reported in B.C. between June15 and July 15 were among people who weren’t fully vaccinated.

As of Friday, more than 2.68 million people — 58.1 per cent of those eligible and 52.2 per cent of the population — have been fully vaccinated.

Click to play video: 'Could Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive slowdown fuel another surge?'

Could Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive slowdown fuel another surge?

Could Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive slowdown fuel another surge?

There were strong regional variances in the prevalence of Delta.

In the Vancouver Island Health Region, all of the 14 cases reported over the week in question were found to be the Delta variant.

In the Interior Health Region, which has seen growing case numbers and lagging vaccination rates, Delta made up a whopping 74 per cent of the 122 cases over the week reported.

Read more:
COVID-19: Interior Health trending upwards, leading B.C. in new daily cases

More than half of the new cases reported on Friday were in the Interior Health region.

Vancouver Coastal Health had the second highest prevalence of Delta, at 33 per cent, followed by the Fraser Health region at 15 per cent.

Officials said 97 per cent of all samples tested were at least one of the known variants of concern.

The BCCDC cautions that the data reported on Friday is subject to change due to a lag in sequencing some samples.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘It’s 2021, it’s not 1950:’ Women politicians in N.S. show support for Robyn Ingraham – Global News



Pamela Lovelace is no stranger to the sexism encountered by women in politics.

She ran for Liberal nomination back in 2013, and is now a Halifax regional councillor for District 13 and says she’s encountered all sorts of comments — because she is a woman — while trying to get elected.

“I remember someone saying ‘why are you here? Why are you doing this, you have a family?’” said Lovelace. “I said, ‘well my opponent has a family too’ and the response was ‘yeah, he has a wife though.’”

While Lovelace says politics is still very much an old boys’ club and that it’s hard for women to get into office, she says parties should support diversity among their candidates.

READ MORE: Liberals face heat after N.S. election candidate says she was ousted over ‘boudoir photos’

She says it was discouraging to find out a Liberal candidate in this provincial election was kicked out of the party for posting and selling boudoir photos online.

“I was really disappointed to hear that the political landscape is talking about what a person has done with their body rather than the actual ideas that Nova Scotians care about,” Lovelace said.

Earlier this week Robyn Ingraham withdrew as the Liberal candidate for Dartmouth South. She originally posted online that it was due to mental health reasons, but then she later posted to her Instagram account that the party had taken issue with her boudoir photos and Only Fans account despite her having disclosed that during the nomination process.

A barber and small business owner, Ingraham also published an email she said she had sent to Rankin, which stated the party had made a mistake by forcing her out. “The misogynistic behaviour of those above you is not tolerable,” she wrote to the premier. “It’s not my job to make old white men comfortable.”

Click to play video: 'Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’'

Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’

Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’

On Friday, Rankin’s news conference in rural Cape Breton about tourism funding quickly turned into a barrage of questions from reporters about how the ousting of Ingraham occurred, what was said and who was responsible. He confirmed his team “assisted” Ingraham with her resignation statement and said he has been repeatedly trying to contact her to learn her version of events.

But in a brief interview with The Canadian Press at her barbershop in Dartmouth, N.S., Ingraham said she doesn’t plan to speak with Rankin.

“I haven’t spoken to him and I have no intention of speaking to him,” she said. “I just wanted my story to get out there.”

She also said she doesn’t want to run for any other party. “I just want to get back to running my business,” she said at her shop, called Devoted Barbers and Co.

READ MORE: Women still under-represented in Nova Scotia politics — ‘We need those voices’

Lovelace said what was done to Ingraham was an injustice.

“Let’s get her back on the ballot,” said Lovelace. “It’s 2021, it’s not 1950, so let’s move on to better politics in Nova Scotia.”

Claudia Chender is running as the NDP candidate for the same riding Ingraham has dropped out of and says this whole situation shows the double standard for men and women in politics.

“I think we are past the point where we should be embroiled in this type of situation as a scandal, but unfortunately we still have a lot of misogyny, frankly, in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia politics.”

Chender says whether or not someone takes or sells revealing photos of themselves does not have an impact on how they can help the community.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue'

Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue

Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue

“Political candidates should be judged on how are you going to make things better, how are you going to fix things?” said Chender.

“I think anything else that’s happening in their own personal lives that isn’t causing people harm is nobody’s business.”

Ingraham’s removal from the ballot has caught the attention of women across the country and many are showing her their support.

In a Twitter post, Mackenzie Kerr, a Green Party candidate in British Columbia posted her own boudoir  image with the caption “It’s time we change the definition of professionalism.”

READ MORE: Allegations of misogyny in premier’s office could impact recruitment of female candidates

Back in Nova Scotia, a former PC candidate for Dartmouth South says she can’t believe women are still being judged for taking control of their own bodies.

“It’s horrible because Robyn is experiencing what I went through,” said Jad Crnogorac.

Crnogorac is a fitness instructor and says she herself has had professional boudoir photos done and hasn’t been shy of posting those photos or bikini photos of herself online.

She says when she was nominated as a PC candidate the party knew all of this but says just before the writ dropped she was approached and asked to remove some of her photos.

“I was really really angry,” said Crnogorac. “This is why strong women don’t go into politics because someone always finds a way to drag you through it and it’s just not appealing.”

Crnogorac was ultimately kicked out of the PC party as a candidate after tweets deemed racist surfaced but she maintains there’s a double standard for women in politics versus men.

“The leader of a party can do something illegal and have two DUIs and still be the leader of the party,” she said, referring to Iain Rankin’s recent admission to past impaired driving charges.

“Why do we have to have this picture-perfect female versus the men who can do whatever they want and still be a politician?” she asks.

–With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canadian medal hopefuls Humana-Paredes, Pavan start beach volleyball with easy win –



Under a scorching sun, brilliant blue sky and temperatures that soared above 38 degrees Celsius at the Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, Canada’s dynamic beach volleyball duo of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes wasted no time taking it to their Dutch opponents. 

The No. 1-ranked and defending world champions took a few minutes to get their footing in the golden sand at the venue, but when they did, they were a force to be reckoned with. 

Pavan and Humana-Paredes defeated the Netherlands duo of Katja Stam and Raisa School in straight sets (21-16, 21-14) on Saturday to open their Olympics. 

“I think today we made it clear that everything we’ve been working on has paid off,” Pavan said after the victory. “The three times we’ve played that team it’s gone down to the wire. Today we took care of it.”

The duo fell behind early to the Dutch, trailing 5-2 in the first set and looking somewhat frustrated. But after an end change Canada rallied, stringing together four straight points, the fourth a huge Pavan block at the net, to take a 6-5 lead.

She pumped her fist in the air before sharing a high-five with Humana-Paredes.

“Regardless of the empty stadium I was shaking like a leaf,” Humana-Paredes said. “I was so nervous and so excited and put on a brave face.”

Bring on the cheers

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

The team talked about needing to feed off one another’s energy on the court because they normally thrive on the crowd. So any chance they get to ignite one another here at the Olympics, they take full advantage of it. 

Thousands of blue seats around the venue sat empty because of COVID restrictions — a similar scene at every Olympic venue in Tokyo, still in a state of emergency.

WATCH | Pavan, Humana-Paredes win opener in straight sets:

Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan opened their Tokyo 2020 beach volleyball campaign with a straight-sets (21-16, 21-14) win over the Netherlands’ Katja Stam and Raisa School. 5:34

The Canadians started to pull away slowly from the Dutch. Pavan’s 6-foot-5 frame was a huge advantage at the net, blocking another Dutch smash to make the score 14-10. 

The Dutch were visibly frustrated by Pavan’s daunting presence at the net and started making unforced errors. The Canadian duo then cruised to a 21-16 opening-set victory.

“We came out a little slow just getting used to the environment, nerves, excitement, everything. We settled in pretty quickly,” Pavan said. 

The Dutch weren’t about to go away too easily in the second set, going shot for shot with the Canadians. Canada mounted a 12-9 lead before a technical timeout for crews to rake the sand court.

Humana-Paredes then took her defensive game to a different level and at times was seemingly all over the court, digging up balls that seemed destined to touch sand. 

Pavan’s presence at the net continually frustrated the Canadians’ Dutch opponents. (AFP via Getty Images)

The experience, poise and power of the Canadians proved to be too much for the Dutch duo. Pavan and Humana-Paredes finished off the match winning the second set, 21-14. 

“Our game plan was on point. We executed our serving game very well and our defensive system. We were very prepared,” Pavan said. 

She finished with four block points and 11 attack points. 

One of the key strengths to Humana-Paredes and Pavan’s game is their ability to communicate. Because of the silent venue their strategy could be heard very clearly throughout the venue. They were constantly talking to one another and sharing information to each other and it slowly wore down the Dutch. 

WATCH | Pavan, Humana-Paredes headed for history:

On this week’s episode of Team Canada Today, we go behind the scenes at training while Andi Petrillo tells you all you need to know about Olympic beach volleyball. 7:57

“That’s something we’ve been working on and it’s a cornerstone of our team,” Humana-Paredes said. “Our communication on and off the court, we put so much work into that. Communication is what we always come back to.”

Pavan and Humana-Paredes now take on Germany in their second match of the tournament in Pool A. 

There are 24 teams competing at the women’s beach volleyball tournament, including another Canadian duo made up of Heather Barnsley and Brandie Wilkerson. They play China in their first game on Saturday night in Tokyo. 

There are six groups made up of four teams. The top two teams from each group advance, with four more joining them in the round of 16. Then that gets trimmed down to eight teams, four teams and then the gold medal game. 

That’s the game Pavan and Humana-Paredes are targeting and are off to a perfect start. 

“It’s such an honour to be here and surreal. It’s something I’ve dreamt of since I was a little girl. I just want to soak it all in.”

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