Great Lakes Tissue, a manufacturer of 100% recycled paper and paper products in Cheboygan, Michigan, has partnered with the Carton Council of North America and the United States Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Michigan (CHURCH) to help boost sustainability by improving manufacturing and recycling infrastructure in the state.
The mill says that for 30 years it has been using 100% recycled materials, including cardboard and other post-consumer products, to make tissue paper products, and is now looking to recycle more cardboard from food and beverages and find what she calls “better use for the low percentage of polyethylene (PE) and poly/aluminum in cartons. Great Lakes Fabric has now partnered with the Carton Council and EGLE, as well as the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), to fund the effort.
The funding provided the mill with new equipment to better manage poly and poly/aluminum residue from the pulping process and, in addition to allowing the mill to process more cartons, the equipment also eliminates more of moisture from PE and poly/aluminum, which he says greatly decreases its weight and allows for more efficient transportation with less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The company says it can also reclaim water and recycle it in the reuse process.
“The new equipment has allowed us to reduce the water content of our materials from 65% to 17%, far exceeding our goal of 25%,” says Julie LaFond, plant engineer and general project manager at Great Lakes Tissue. . “This lower humidity helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions because we can transport the same volume of material in fewer loads.”
MDARD Director Gary McDowell said his department was “proud to invest in technology to keep food and beverage cartons out of landfills, while supporting a Michigan-based company.”
Currently, Great Lakes Tissue says the small amount of poly/aluminum tailings is sent to St. Mary’s Cement in Charlevoix, Michigan, where it offsets the use of coal as fuel versus being sent to landfill, and the company adds that it continues to explore other uses for the material with the goal of eventually using it to make new products.
“Our goal is to keep cartons out of landfills and ensure they can continue to have a second life,” says Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects at the Carton Council and vice president of sustainability, United States. United States, Canada, Central America. and Caribbean for Tetra Pak. “We are thrilled to help fund these efforts and believe this is a model that could be replicated in other places.”