Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day. Domtar encourages recycling every day, and we’ve joined the call to reduce waste and recycle everyday products in meaningful ways.
America Recycles Day is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which reports that the recycling rate has increased from less than 7 percent in 1960 to a rate of 32 percent in 2018.
Recycling at Domtar goes beyond our paper recycling efforts. Our environmental and sustainability leaders across our manufacturing network are always looking for beneficial reuse opportunities for our products and byproducts, as well as new ways to reduce the size of our landfills by producing paper-based alternatives to plastic. Here are just some of the ways we maximize waste reduction across our network:
- In the production of absorbent cores for hygiene products, our EAM facility in Jesup, Ga., returns all of its trimmings back into the process to be made into more product.
- Similarly, our paper converting facilities also collect trimmings to be baled and either returned to the mill for reuse, or sold to third parties for reuse. In one creative instance of recycling several years ago, the small pieces of paper that had been punched out were used as confetti in a city’s celebratory parade.
America Recycles, and So Do We
America recycles paper and paper-based packaging at a high rate already. The rate for recycling paper is about 89 percent for cardboard and nearly 66 percent for paper, according to a 2021 report from the American Forest and Paper Association.
Domtar’s largest scale recycling project is our Kingsport Mill’s conversion into a 100-percent recycling facility. This extensive construction project has been planned with sustainability and circular economy principles in mind.
The mill will contribute to the global effort to eliminate the use of plastic packaging. As a more sustainable alternative, the Kingsport Mill, when restarted, will reuse recycled material such as boxes and other mixed paper to produce high-quality containerboard that can be recycled again.
By the end of 2022, the retail boxes and other mixed paper in your recycling bin might come back to you in the form of a box made with recycled containerboard from Kingsport. Here’s how the process will work:
- The contents of your recycling bin will be picked up and taken to a sorting center that separates all the cardboard and mixed paper, such as cereal boxes, office paper and newsprint. Those items are formed into large bales that will be delivered to the mill.
- When they arrive, they’ll be placed on a large conveyer and sent to one of two pulper vats to turn the recycled bales into pulp.
- From there, additional recycling residuals will be sorted out for the mill to use to produce steam and electricity at the mill.
- Then the pulp will go through a screening process to remove fine contaminants and prepare it for the containerboard machine. This includes separating long and short fibers for better blending. Separating and blending fibers allows for better strength properties on the various grades of recycled containerboard that the mill will produce.
- Finally, the recycled containerboard will come off the machine in five-ton reels to be sent to customers who will use it to produce boxes and other packaging materials.
Observing America Recycles Day is easy. You can join an event, or make your own commitment to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled whenever possible. You also can encourage others to do the same by using the hashtag #BeRecycled on social media.