This is the fourth consecutive year AF&PA has honored WestRock for its sustainability advancements. The award was presented at AF&PA’s annual meeting on November 9, in Dallas, Texas.
WestRock received a Leadership in Sustainability Award for Paper Recovery for Recycling for its work to advance foodservice packaging recycling and the Innovation in Sustainability Award for developing TechniFlute, a corrugated medium with high-unit strength.
“By increasing consumer access to the recovery of paper-based foodservice packaging, WestRock is taking the lead on an issue of importance to our industry,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.
WestRock took two primary actions to promote the recycling of paper-based foodservice packaging. First, the company demonstrated technical recyclability of polycoated foodservice packaging via a trial at its St. Paul, Minnesota mill. Second, its Chattanooga, Tennessee recycling facility partnered with customers through the Foodservice Packaging Institute and the City of Chattanooga to add foodservice packaging to the residential curbside collection. Demonstrating that paper foodservice packaging is recyclable further enhances its position as a sustainable choice in this growing packaging category.
“WestRock’s TechniFluteTM is a prime example of implementing material reduction to create a more sustainable product,” said Harman. Through a proprietary lamination process, TechniFlute uses multiple lightweight papers to produce a corrugating medium with high unit strength. The strength enhancement of combined corrugated board can vary depending on the liner grades that are used in conjunction with the TechniFluteTM medium. Since corrugating medium is only one component in a corrugated box, this strength enhancement can translate to 20 to 40 percent fiber savings.
“Congratulations to my WestRock teammates who contributed to our company’s recognition by AF&PA with two sustainability awards; the Leadership in Sustainability Award for Paper Recovery for Recycling and the Innovation in Sustainability Award,” said Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer of WestRock. “With our focus on people, planet and performance, the three pillars of our sustainability platform, our WestRock team continuously looks for ways to engage in sustainable business practices.”
Designed to recognize exemplary sustainability programs and initiatives in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry, AF&PA’s annual awards are given based on the merit of entries received across multiple categories.
Projects that support progress toward the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals qualify for recognition in the “Leadership” category, which has five subcategories that correspond to the goals: Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Paper Recovery for Recycling, Safety, Sustainable Forest Management and Water. The “Innovation in Sustainability” award is reserved for projects that merit recognition for their contribution to sustainable business practices, not one of the goals specifically.
AF&PA’s 2018 Sustainability Report showed that the U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry has made significant, measurable progress toward achieving its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability goals.