Our Plymouth Mill has taken another step toward a more sustainable future thanks to the success of a recent resource conservation project. Just one year after the installation of a cooling tower and new heat exchangers, the mill’s closed-loop system for heating process water has exceeded expectations by dramatically reducing daily water consumption and fuel costs. Last May, the team installed a cooling tower and two large heat exchangers to reclaim waste heat from the mill and use it to reduce steam consumption. While the resource conservation project was originally expected to eliminate the use of about 11 million gallons of river water per day, Operations Manager David Council says the system is performing better than expected, saving approximately 18 million gallons of water per day. Before the team installed the new equipment, the mill used water from the nearby Roanoke River to cool mill processes. The mill returned the water to the river in the same condition, only slightly warmer. With the addition of the cooling tower and heat exchangers, the mill now has a closed-loop system that reclaims heat from the mill’s evaporation equipment and transfers it to process water. The reclaimed heat reduces the mill’s steam load, which means it burns less fuel in the boilers to make steam.
Over the past two decades, the company’s approach to sustainability reporting has evolved significantly: from focusing solely on environmental commitments and actions to evaluating every part of the business and its impact, including societal and supplier governance. The 2018 Sustainability Report provides an updated overview of how the company is striving to drive its sustainability agenda across all areas of business, and the progress towards its goals in protecting food, people and futures.