Baled OCC for recycling.

Pointing to rising energy costs, Vermont-based Putney Paper shut down Jan. 16. | Max Barnum/Shutterstock

Putney Paper, a Northeast U.S. mill that took in post-consumer recovered fiber and converted it into recycled tissue, napkins and towels, closed its doors last week, with company leadership citing rising energy costs contributing to the closure.

The Putney, Vermont-based Putney Paper Mill closed on Jan. 16, laying off 127 workers at the mill, according to a news release from the Vermont Department of Labor. The mill is owned by Soundview Vermont Holdings, which also owns Northeast U.S. recycled paper company Marcal Paper. Soundview acquired the Putney mill in 2013.

In recent years, Soundview invested significantly in the facility to improve its recycled fiber capabilities. In a March 2019 presentation to the Northeast Recycling Council, company representatives described an investment of more than $1.5 million in the Putney mill to improve its pulping system. The upgrades were designed to allow greater use of post-consumer recycled fiber in both white and brown paper grades. The company noted this would allow the use of more mixed paper from MRFs to produce its kraft paper grades, as well as using more sorted residential papers in white grades.

In a news release quoted in The Commons newspaper, Soundview executives referenced those upgrades, noting that “over the past decade, the company invested tens of millions of dollars to strengthen the mill, but the rising energy costs were too insurmountable to sustain operations. The decision to close the mill comes after careful consideration and a recognition that there was not a viable path forward.”

In testimony before Vermont lawmakers in 2017 – also first reported by The Commons – company leadership reported sourcing more than 40,000 tons of recycled paper in 2016.

Resource Recycling could not immediately reach Soundview for comment on the grades and tonnage processed at the mill at the time of its closure.

Soundview’s other Northeast paper mill, the Marcal mill in Elmwood Park, N.J. was damaged in a fire in 2019.

The Vermont Department of Labor noted Soundview will provide pay and benefits for all employees for 60 days after the closure notice.

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