PaperNuts: Thinking Inside the Box

By: Gabrielle Tieman | Photos: AJ Harlond

Industry standards are continually evolving – companies must always be looking for new and inventive ways to improve their products and services to align with client demands and needs. But today, it is not only sufficient for a company to be innovative, useful and meet the needs of their clients and prospective clients, but their products and packaging must also do their part to preserve the environment and conform to today’s green level standards of business.

Unfortunately, the majority of today’s packaging materials are anything but earth friendly; annually filling acres of landfills and oceans with billions of tons of harmful plastic, corn based fillers and Styrofoam products. But finally, companies have a solution to their harmful packaging woes – one that is not only green, but also really works.

PaperNut’s loose fill packaging solution takes thinking green inside the box, presenting companies with the first completely earth friendly and biodegradable packaging solution and a new replacement for traditional and harmful packing fillers that have unfortunately remained the industry standard for decades. Continuously working to revolutionize and improve how companies safely transport their products and materials, PaperNuts simultaneously presents a new alternative for companies who wish to protect the environment while continuing to meet stringent industry criteria. Manufactured using 100% recycled paper, PaperNuts are filled in around your boxed products and when shipped, expand and interlock, forming a protective barrier around your shipped goods, eliminating any migration and damage that can occur during the transportation process.

Basing their work around their slogan “If they were any greener, they’d still be growing,” PaperNuts is not only recyclable, but recycled, reusable, compostable, biodegradable and sustainable from renewable resources.

Scott MacRae, president of PaperNuts, says he first came across the original model for PaperNuts a few years ago while he was working with the government to locate and bring in new technology to Canada.  MacRae says he knew instantly it was a product Canada could not afford to go without, so he brought it in from Europe and began working on perfecting the new machinery and products. Today, PaperNuts has grown and expanded and is considered to be entirely a Canadian product.

“I came across PaperNuts a few years ago and loved it and wanted to bring it in,” said MacRae. “We ended up purchasing all of the patents and global rights so yes it is 100% Canadian. We have taken the machines and improved on them. The concept was there and we took it, ran with it and made it what it is today.”

Concerned with the fact that only 35% of plastic and Styrofoam products are recycled annually and only a mere 3% of the world actively claim to recycle, MacRae said him and his team wanted to create a product that was not only superior in performance and could be recycled, but would also biodegrade over time and not harm the environment if a company chose to overlook recycling.

“With PaperNuts, it’s not just biodegradable, but it’s also compostable,” said MacRae. “So when you buy PaperNuts, you don’t have to worry about where they go at the end of the day. With Styrofoam, well they say it’s recyclable but that just means it can be recycled – not that it actually is. Well only 3% of us in the world fully recycle those things, so they are going into landfills and the ocean. But with PaperNuts, if someone throws it out onto the ground or away, it doesn’t matter – they are like leaves; they just go back to nature.”

Having first come to Canada in 2010, MacRae said a lot of work had to be put into the product before PaperNuts could make their first sale. Sales later began circulating in 2011 when the company began to sell their packaging material by the bag. Since their first bag of nuts was sold, product demand has yet to slow down. Today, the St. Catharines, Ontario based business continues to sell their PaperNuts by the bag.

Featuring two forms of paper packaging filler, PaperNuts is not limited to accommodate industrial size shipping needs, but has the ability to work with all types of clients that may have smaller, more delicate items to ship. Included in the options are the company’s traditional brown packing nut filler, a dense kraft one ply, four inch product that is ideal for commercial and heavy industrial application. The second, a smaller and lighter white, two ply, two inch static free dense nut, is ideal for delicate applications like transporting computer parts, glass and food grade items.  Though both are made from different recycled paper materials, both products work the same way, opening up during transportation, interlocking and expanding to fill the void space around your product in order to eliminate damage from shock and migration. It is also a pleasant surprise for anyone opening a package and expecting a Styrofoam nut mess – with the interlocking application, PaperNuts is removed as a unit, not crumpled into a million pieces on your floor.


Joanne Secord, Vice-President Distribution of PaperNuts, says that their company is constantly working to improve and revolutionize their products and machinery according to customer and industry demands. Secord said the company’s long term goal is to have enough machines so that they can be placed right on location at their clients’ factories in order for businesses to produce their own packaging material as needed –and PaperNuts would continue to supply them the recycled paper to create the nuts.

Today, PaperNuts can sell anywhere from one to a truckload of bags to a company at a time, but it doesn’t matter how many bags are purchased, Secord said every company always comes back for more.

“Once people use PaperNuts, they always come back wanting more,” said Secord. “They really love them. Other packaging products shrink and compress and your product will move around, ours protect your product. The great thing is that we don’t only compete against Styrofoam, peanuts and bio-peanuts, we can compete against bubble wrap, air pillows and against any machines that other people already have on site that are shooting out paper to put in the box. We can compete against every packaging material out there.”

But in today’s economy, the words eco-friendly and green most often come attached to a high price tag. But PaperNuts is not only a cost-effective alternative to traditional loose fills, but the most affordable option available. And, with an average time of two and half minutes required to fill a large orderable bag of PaperNuts, orders can be filled within hours as compared to days, cutting down on costs, labour and delivery times.

“You can fill a room really quickly,” said MacRae, demonstrating how the machines cut, twist and spit out the paper nuts into a bag at varying levels of speed.

Once the machines become available to be placed on site at manufacturers, PaperNuts will even save companies money as businesses will be able to manufacture their packaging materials on site as needed, dramatically reducing shipping and storage costs of bulky finished products.

“Nobody else can make a loose fill on site that is 100% green,” said Secord. “We are the only company that can do that.

“If there is a need we can fill it.”

But PaperNuts does not only have a commitment to the environment and their own development and company advancement. Both natives of the Niagara Region, Secord and MacRae are committed to expanding their business within St. Catharines in hopes of improving the job market and career growth in the community.

“We both love the Niagara Region and we both know that it needs to grow,” said Secord. “There is not enough employment. We want to remain in the region and we want the machines continued to be manufactured in the region and we want to stay based here. More businesses need to be encouraged to stay in St. Catharines and Niagara.”

Interested in seeing how their machines operate, investing in PaperNuts or changing how your business stays green? Visit  for contact information, demonstration videos and information on how you can invest in PaperNuts. 

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