Winter Timber Sale

$600 million paperboard mill to open in Mich.

The products provide an alternative to plastic packaging

MADISON, Wis. – A big challenge by a paper products company to the dominance of plastic packaging for food and beverages is opening in Michigan in January. Graphic Packaging Holding will open a $600 million paperboard plant and begin operations in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Graphic Holding produces a suite of products from coated recycled paperboard that successfully compete with plastic packaging with more apparent environmental issues. Many of these products, like “paper seal” used to wrap meat and cheese, have been developed in the last three years.

Other innovative packaging products include the Keel Clip, for beverage six packs (replacing plastic six pack rings), and Produce Pack to hold apples and tomatoes in grocery stores.

This new sustainable packaging allows consumer products companies to present a greener market presence to consumers. Some of the companies using Graphic Holdings products are leaders in their respective fields: Budweiser, McDonald's, Starbucks and Nestle.

Graphic Holding is a New York Stock Exchange-listed company with almost 19,000 employees and a stock value of $6 billion. It began as a part of Coors Brewing Company making packaging for the brewer’s products and was spun off as a separate public company in the 1990s. The Kalamazoo mill will be its ninth in North America. Others are in Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio and Quebec and one in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Graphic Holding uses both recycled paper and virgin wood for its raw materials but says nearly all of its paperboard products are recyclable. “We utilize essentially all the wood that comes into our virgin paperboard mills, either to manufacture paperboard or to produce power through biomass. At our coated unbleached kraft (CUK) and solid bleached sulfate (SBS) mills, we generate most of our electricity from renewable energy sources and send excess energy (where available) back to the local power grid.”

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