Sonoco (NYSE: SON) today announced it is expanding post-consumer recovery and recycling opportunities for its iconic EnviroCan™ paper containers in the U.S. to be used as raw material at 10 of its paperboard mills to produce new paperboard.
According to Elizabeth Rhue, staff vice president of sustainability, all of Sonoco’s U.S. paper mills have validated that they can accept rigid paper cans in bales of mixed paper coming from residential Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). These mills, located in Menasha, Wis., Newport, Tenn., City of Industry, Calif., Hartsville, S.C., Holyoke, Mass., Richmond, Va., Sumner, Wash., Hutchinson, Kan., DePere, Wis., and Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., will use the mixed paper to produce 100 percent recycled paperboard, with up to 85 percent post-consumer fiber.
“Sonoco is uniquely positioned as a leading recycler, paper mill operator and paper packaging converter to help grow end of life solutions across not only our consumer and industrial packaging platforms, but across the paper industry,” said Rhue. “After validating that our mills could recycle EnviroCan factory scrap, we are now taking the lead to further demonstrate the ability to recycle our paper containers with metal ends not only through the steel stream, as it is largely done today, but also through the post-consumer mixed paper stream.”
According to Tim Davis, division vice president and general manager of Sonoco’s U.S./Canada paper operations, this collaboration across Sonoco’s U.S. vertically integrated manufacturing network further demonstrates the flexibility the Company possesses to recycle and process fiber-based packaging through conventional paper mill pulping systems.
“This is one of many steps Sonoco is taking to further our commitment to responsible material sourcing at our manufacturing operations, while building material circularity into our consumer packaging platforms,” Rhue said. “If a consumer recycles an EnviroCan paper container, and it is sorted into the mixed paper stream, the cans can now be sent to our mills to be turned into a number of new fiber products, including new EnviroCan containers.”