ATLANTA (September 27, 2018) – WestRock Company (NYSE: WRK), a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, will begin accepting mixed paper bales that contain paper foodservice packaging at its 100% recycled paperboard mills across the United States, the company announced today.
Historically, paper-based foodservice packaging, which includes items such as single-use cups, takeout cartons and pizza boxes, has not been widely accepted in recycling programs due to concerns over polymer coatings and food contamination. However, as paper mill pulping and cleaning systems have evolved, so has the ability to accept types of foodservice packaging.
WestRock’s recycled paperboard mill in St. Paul, Minnesota, which produces 100 percent recycled content paperboard, conducted a trial in 2017 accepting poly-coated foodservice packaging during regular production. The company’s recycling facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky also began accepting foodservice packaging in their residential recycling collection in the fall of 2017. In both trial situations, there was no disruption to the company’s operations from the addition of poly-coated foodservice packaging.
Foodservice packaging is a source of high-quality virgin fiber and can add value to residential mixed paper by improving fiber strength and yield. Residential mixed paper averages about 65 percent fiber yield and foodservice packaging typically averages more than 90 percent yield.
“In order for communities to accept foodservice packaging into their residential recycling programs, they need a place to send it,” said DJ Vandeusen, senior vice president of WestRock’s Recycling business. “WestRock can now take this packaging and turn it into new, usable products.”
“WestRock is leading the way in demonstrating the recyclability of foodservice packaging and that it provides a valuable source of fiber to paper mills,” said Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, of which WestRock is a member. “We look forward to partnering with WestRock to raise awareness of the recyclability of cups, containers, boxes and bags.”
WestRock mills accepting foodservice packaging are: Aurora, Illinois; Battle Creek, Michigan; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Dallas Texas; Eaton, Indiana; Missisquoi, Vermont; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
WestRock (NYSE: WRK) partners with our customers to provide differentiated paper and packaging solutions that help them win in the marketplace. WestRock’s 45,000 team members support customers around the world from more than 300 operating and business locations spanning North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Learn more at www.westrock.com.
John Pensec, 470-328-6397
Director, Corporate Communications