Paper Excellence have received $4.5 million from the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. This funding will help support an important transformation project taking place at our Catalyst Port Alberni mill.
The $4.5 million will be invested at Catalyst Port Alberni to expand the mill’s production capacity for food packaging papers. Traditionally, this mill produced printing and writing grades; however, demand for these products has been in steady decline. Transitioning to food grade papers means meeting growing market demand, providing sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic serving containers, and advancing BC’s circular economy.
The new grades will be produced using unique pulping capabilities developed at the Catalyst Port Alberni mill that net a higher yield in fiber use. As a result, the mill will be able to increase the amount of food packaging materials it produces but will use less residual wood fibre to do so.
IFIT is a federal program that provides capital funding to support transformative projects by forest sector firms to diversify into new product streams and implement innovative process improvements to ensure industry competitiveness.
“This funding from IFIT will help Paper Excellence achieve our vision for modernizing our paper production on BC’s coast,” said Graham Kissack, Vice President, Environment, Health & Safety and Corporate Communications. “We are proud to be producing sustainable, value-added forest products that will meet the market demands of the future.”
Catalyst Port Alberni employs 310 full time people on Vancouver Island, supports 800 indirect jobs in BC, and makes an economic contribution of $500 million annually.
The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources: “Finding alternatives to traditional, unsustainable packaging in every sector is an import part of our efforts to cut waste, reduce pollution, and protect natural habitats. The federal government is committed to growing the circular economy – we have already banned many harmful single use plastics – and are pleased to see the Catalyst Port Alberni mill transition to producing food grade paper that will serve to further displace single use materials. Congratulations to Catalyst Port Alberni and Paper Excellence on this exciting step towards a more sustainable future.”