Domtar executives and employees joined state and local dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Kingsport Mill grand reopening celebration. The event marked the completion of the mill’s conversion into a first 100 percent recycled containerboard facility.
The two-year project transformed the mill’s uncoated freesheet paper machine into the second-largest 100 percent-recycled containerboard machine in North America, capable of producing approximately 600,000 tons of high-quality recycled linerboard and corrugated medium annually.
“Our machine is one of the most sophisticated and highly automated machines in North America,” says Mill Manager Troy Wilson. “Its state-of-the-art technology is enabling us to provide our customers a high-quality, consistent product thanks to a highly controllable, stable and repeatable process.” The mill reopened in January and is now the largest recycled manufacturer in the state of Tennessee.
“The Kingsport Mill is blazing a trail as Domtar’s first 100 percent-recycled containerboard facility,” says Steve Henry, Domtar executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We’re building on our 175-year legacy as a fiber innovator by entering the packaging business. It’s a large and growing market, and we’re very excited by the customer response we’ve received.”
Henry says: “The Kingsport Mill grand reopening shows we are delivering on our promise to provide our customers — independent corrugated converters — a full range of 100 percent-recycled Performance Linerboard and Medium with superior strength and outstanding print performance. Our customers have been delighted by the high-quality product the Kingsport team is producing.”
Most importantly, Domtar completed the project safely. During the two-year conversion, onsite construction crews at the mill surpassed 2.5 million hours without a lost-time incident. The safety streak started when the project began in the fall of 2020.
“Throughout the project, we did everything we could to show our contract support personnel that we cared about them,” says Charlie Floyd, vice president of strategic capital projects for Domtar’s packaging business. “Our only priority was ensuring they would return home to their families safely. Nothing we do is more important than keeping our people safe.” Wilson says the work to convert this mill would not have been possible without the community’s support and collaboration.
“Our land swap agreement with the City of Kingsport now allows trucks to enter and exit the mill’s new shipping and receiving hub directly via Interstate 26, which runs past the mill. This alleviates heavy truck traffic downtown and eliminates thousands of miles of annual wear and tear on city streets while greatly reducing noise pollution from truck traffic.”
“Thanks to our world-class team and asset here in Kingsport, we’re supplying sustainable packaging grades to the independent corrugated community,” Henry says. “We are proud of our home here in Kingsport and look forward to continuing to be part of this community for many years to come.”