The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) recognized WestRock with two 2019 AF&PA Sustainability Awards. This is the fifth consecutive year AF&PA has honored WestRock for their sustainability advancements. The awards were presented at AF&PA’s annual meeting on Friday, Nov. 8, in Bluffton, South Carolina.
WestRock received the Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety for creating recovery boiler safety shields and the Innovation in Sustainability Award for developing EnShield® Natural Kraft, a completely recyclable paperboard that is suitable for foodservice packaging.
“WestRock’s safety shield helps to eliminate a safety hazard, showing that creativity and ingenuity go a long way in protecting the wellbeing of employees,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock.
WestRock’s Kraft containerboard mill in Hopewell, Virginia developed a safety shield to cover the recovery boiler ports and eliminate the risk of burn injuries to boiler operators and bystanders. Mill workers made the shields in-house out of durable lightweight aluminum and applied complementary safety controls, such as signage and a safe pedestrian walkway. The safety shields can be implemented at any Kraft paperboard and containerboard mill and are helping WestRock to achieve their company-wide goal to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities.
“EnShield® Natural Kraft is one way WestRock is positioning itself as a leader in the emerging circular economy,” said Brock.
EnShield® Natural Kraft is an innovative, completely recyclable paperboard that has the same level of oil and grease resistance as plastic and plastic-lined alternatives. Manufactured at WestRock’s Mahrt, Alabama paper mill, its proprietary coating is achieved on the paper machine, eliminating the need for additional manufacturing steps. EnShield® Natural Kraft has the natural aesthetics that match consumers’ environmental preferences; meets the requirements for takeout food, bakery and frozen food packaging; and allows WestRock customers to improve their sustainability profiles without sacrificing performance.
“Thank you to AF&PA for recognizing WestRock’s commitment to sustainability with two awards in the areas of safety and product innovation,” said WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees. “Congratulations to my teammates who worked hard to make our company a safer place to work and to help our customers meet their sustainability goals! I look forward to WestRock making even more progress in sustainability in the years to come.”