Ahlstrom-Munksjö seeks to reduce carbon footprint, landfill waste
By Katie Thorsen, WXPR
Photo by Gary Garton for Star Journal
Ahlstrom-Munksjö says it is seeing a strong demand for its products, especially those like its fiber-based food packaging that’s produce in the Rhinelander plant.
“Brand owners are looking to make changes in terms of having more compostable or recyclable options as opposed to something non-renewable like a plastic or film-based material. The specialty paper industry where we are in, we are at a unique advantage right now as opposed to maybe years past where we have the product of the future that not only brand-owners are looking for, but consumers are looking for,” said Addie Teeters, head of marketing, communications, and public affairs Ahlstrom-Munksjö.
While Ahlstrom-Munksjö products have become more environmentally friendly over the years, the process to make them takes a toll on natural resources.
“Obviously, papermaking is very capital intensive. We use energy, water, raw materials, but we need to use those more efficiently and using cleaner energy in order to reduce emissions intensity,” said Teeters.
Examples of the fiber-based food packaging that Ahlstrom-Munksjö produces.
To reduce its carbon footprint and landfill waste, the company says it is investing in new technology and converting its existing boilers at its plants in Rhinelander and Mosinee.
Right now, the boilers in Rhinelander are coal-fired. This project will convert them to natural gas and a heat recovery steam generator will be installed.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö says its goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Teeters says these changes are critical steps to get there.
“The investment in these new capital investments in both of our Mosinee and Rhinelander Plants in Wisconsin. They are going to assist in just reducing this overall carbon footprint and contribution,” said Teeters.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö projects the changes will reduce the carbon footprint in Rhinelander by 14% and reduce landfill waste by more than 50%. The changes at the Mosinee plant are expected to reduce the carbon footprint by an estimated 20% and landfill waste by more than 10%.
The Rhinelander project is starting now and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of next year.
Teeters says production will go on as normal during the project.