Printer Friendly

Where does your recycled office paper go?

Quality paper pulp from Brownstown

You want to recycle office paper. And consumers clamor for fresh paper made from recycled fiber. But without more mills to turn the mountains of used office paper into quality pulp for paper makers, the loop often ends at the wastebasket.

Kieffer Paper Mills in Brownstown is bridging that gap, however, with a high-tech pulp mill that has been attracting international attention since it started production last May.

"For the most part, there had been no demand for office waste," Kieffer President Kieran Devery says. "I'm of the school that says everything is market-driven, which means that until there's a place to sell it, there can't be a sale."

The $27 million pulp mill, constructed alongside Kieffer's recycled-paper mill, produces 100 tons of wet lap pulp a day. It consumes waste paper at the rate of 100,000 tons each year, saving the equivalent of about 1.7 million trees.

Thanks to a sophisticated tracking system, the plant can follow a bundle of paper from start to finish, allowing a supplier to print its annual report on the same fibers it sent to the plant just a few weeks earlier.

Kieffer buys bundles of used office paper from brokers up to 250 miles away, tags each bundle for tracking and feeds the material into a large rotating drum that breaks the paper into fibers. Paper clips, rubber bands, plastic envelope windows and other contaminants are removed and ink is extracted. Then the remaining pulp is bleached (using environmentally safe hydrogen peroxide, rather than chlorine), pressed and cut into large sheets of recycled fiber. The whole process takes about four hours.

The company sells its product--under the trademark name of White River Pulp--to printing- and writing-grade manufacturers like Mead, Weyerhauser and International Paper. These companies add the recycled fiber to their virgin fiber to satisfy state, federal and general market requirements for recycled content.

Unlike other mills, Kieffer uses the most advanced technology available to extract inks and other contaminants in new ways. This produces a recycled fiber nearly identical to virgin fiber that is made from wood.

"We're able to manufacture a de-inked pulp of such high quality that the differences between recycled pulp and virgin pulp are invisible," Devery says. "Contaminants are the bane of paper-making, especially on the newer machines."

Straw, rather than waste paper, was the main ingredient at the plant in 1832. Hanging from Devery's office wall is an 1899 edition of the Brownstown Banner, made from strawboard, announcing the purchase of the mill by the citizens of Brownstown.

But recycling is nothing new to Kieffer Paper. Waste paper has been the primary raw material since John Kieffer purchased the facility in 1907.

The new wrinkle, however, is the pulp mill, which has become a global research and development facility for paper recycling.

The paper industry hopes to achieve a 40 percent recovery rate by 1995, and more high-tech mills are expected to sprout as public awareness grows.

"Demand has been huge," Devery says. "Unfortunately, we're sold out. We turn down as many orders as we can fill. I just wish we'd have built a bigger plant."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Kieffer Paper Mills Inc.'s recycled paper
Author:Gard, Jon
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Previous Article:Heritage Environmental Services: the nation's largest privately held full-service environmental-management company.
Next Article:Southeastern Indiana update.

Related Articles
Using recycled paper.
Recycling the paper forest.
Paper: from forests to wastebaskets ... and back!
The sudden new strength of recycling.
Dates set for paper recycling conference.
By the numbers: An AF&PA report shows the growth of paper recycling since 1991.
Into the mix: driven by market demand, mixed paper is coming into its own in the recovered fiber market.
Paper giants: global demand for recovered paper has been keeping North America's paperstock dealers busy.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters