WestRock scales up foodservice packaging recovery

2 Oct 2018

Article originally appeared in Resource Recycling, by Colin Staub

WestRock announced that eight recycled paperboard mills in the U.S. will take in mixed paper bales that include single-use fiber cups, takeout cartons, pizza boxes and similar materials.  These products are rarely accepted in recycling programs, usually because of the contamination associated with foodservice packaging.

In a Sept. 27 press release, WestRock said technological evolutions in paper mill pulping and cleaning systems have allowed the company’s mills to handle foodservice packaging and extract value from it.

Foodservice packaging provides high-quality fiber, WestRock noted in the release, and “can add value to residential mixed paper by improving fiber strength and yield.”

WestRock averages more than 90 percent yield from recycled foodservice packaging materials, the company wrote, compared with about 65 percent yield from residential mixed paper.

“In order for communities to accept foodservice packaging into their residential recycling programs, they need a place to send it,” DJ VanDeusen, senior vice president of WestRock’s recycling business, noted in the release. “WestRock can now take this packaging and turn it into new, usable products.”

WestRock will accept the bales at its recycled paperboard mills in Aurora, Ill.; Battle Creek, Mich.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Dallas; Eaton, Ind.; Missisquoi, Vt.; Saint Paul, Minn.; and Stroudsburg, Pa.