Have a word! Students gather to support campaign to get ‘cartonboard’ into the Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford is well known as the seat of learning and its libraries are home to over 12 million books and manuscripts.  However, few as large as the giant cartonboard dictionary that landed on the city’s streets this week, as part of an ongoing campaign to get the word ‘cartonboard’ officially recognised in the Oxford English Dictionary. The larger-than-life five feet tall dictionary is made entirely of renewable, recyclable and biodegradable cartonboard. In December 2019, the giant dictionary – complete with open ‘pages’ featuring a definition of cartonboard - was unveiled at the Charing Cross Library in London. Yet nearly two years on, and despite the fact that just 12% of UK citizens surveyed would choose a product packaged in plastic over cartonboard, the word remains excluded from the dictionary. Cartonboard is a paper-based material used to make cartons which in turn package and protect products ranging from breakfast cereals to frozen foods, to pharmaceuticals to smart phones! The paper fibres that make up cartonboard come from a renewable resource – trees grown in sustainably managed forests – and can be recycled up to 25 times , making it the most environmentally-friendly packaging material.  

A Pro Carton spokesperson said:  “With our world in the grips of a climate emergency, it baffles me that the Oxford University Press cannot see the importance and relevance of cartonboard. The exceptionally versatile material is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, meaning it is the perfect example of the circular economy. We must keep the conversation going about sustainable packaging and we implore those at the Oxford English Dictionary to join us in this movement to change the world for the better!”