Focus on Rewilding: What is it and what does it do?

Published - 22nd Dec 2023

As you may have seen, we have recently donated and supported the Sharpham Trust with their rewilding efforts.  Cardboard’s link to the environment is a strong one  –  it’s essentially derived from a natural product, its renewable, reusable and compostable and has a recycling rate of 80-90% across the UK and Europe.  Paper based packaging helps to minimise environmental impact. 

Cardboard of course, is made from paper which is at first harvested from trees.  Trees naturally capture carbon from the atmosphere and store this inside them.  When trees are harvested to make paper and cardboard, the carbon is no longer stored in the forest but remains in products such as wood, paper and cardboard.

Forest area is increasing by around 1400 hectares every day in Europe, but if this is happening on such a massive scale, why are local Rewilding projects (often small scale and voluntarily run) so important?

Most if not all businesses in The UK are talking about Net Zero or carbon reduction in some way.  Protecting the planet cannot and should not just fall to major multinationals and global conglomerates.  It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s businesses are SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) and responsible for about 50% of all employee’s, the accountability falls to all of us that make an impact on the planet.

Rewilding may seem like a small effort, when you consider afforestation’s and renewable energy projects –  but any contribution can make a massive difference, especially when the effort is local and happens hundreds of times over on a national level.

What is Rewilding?

Rewilding is a conservation effort that seeks to reinstate natural processes and reintroduce ecosystems and species where they have been depleted or lost.  This could be land previously used for agriculture, industry, transport networks and brownfield sites for example.  There are a number of rewilding projects being run across the world from small scale (at just an acre or two  to large conservation efforts across vast areas of land or ocean.

This video shows an example of one of Sharpham Trust rewilding efforts since 2020.

The number one reason for rewilding is to help fix the climate crisis. Rewilding Britain claim that as much as 12% of the UK’s gas emissions could be captured by restoring landscapes over 30% of Britain. One such project at Steart Marshes around 20 miles from our factory in Wellington is estimated to have stored over 18,000 tonnes of Carbon over 4 years just by restoring wetlands.

What other positive impacts could rewilding have?

Other than Carbon Capture, rewilding can help with a number of other environmental and social benefits. Quite a topic here this autumn in the Westcountry; 1. rewilding protects against flooding.  By denuding hillsides, it’s possible to slow the flow of water downstream, a particular problem with flash flooding.  2. Rewilding reverses biodiversity loss. In Dundreggan, Scotland for example, native forest is now being left to recover after centuries of over grazing, – over 4,000 different species are now found including Golden Eagles. 3. It supports local economies, in areas where rewilding has taken place in 10 years, employment in these areas has increased by 65% and volunteer numbers have increased 14 times over. It also encourages eco tourism into local natural areas. 4. Natural landscapes encourage health and wellbeing.  Along with the social element of volunteering, the practice of ‘social prescribing’ is also becoming more popular with health services. Mapperton Wildland in Dorset is one rewilding project area that the NHS is now prescribing their nature programmes to patients.

Rewilding will play an important role in the climate crisis, alongside all of the other government, charitable, technical and scientific approaches that are being sought out to try and halt the warming of our planet.  If you would like to know more about the sustainability side of cardboard as an eco-friendly packaging type, please get in touch

Back to News