Two major producers of containerboard made from recycled fiber are growing their presence in the U.S. Pratt Industries will add on to a Georgia box plant, and Atlantic Packaging is working on a major facility in Illinois.
Paper mills that use a lot of recovered fiber were forced to pay substantially more for OCC over the past few months, reflecting the global strength in corrugated packaging demand.
Recovered fiber exports increased significantly during the first six months of 2021 compared with the same period last year, with a spike in material moving to India and Thailand. Plastic exports were steady year over year.
Pratt Industries and Kentucky state officials on July 29 announced the company will build its sixth 100% recycled paper mill in the U.S. The project will break ground next year and is slated to start up in fall 2023.
Leaders at Smart Planet Technologies, which produces a coating that minimizes contamination during the fiber milling process, say they have seen adoption in several global regions. But several factors have limited U.S. growth.
A global report charting recovered fiber trends throughout 2019 found that packaging made up 86% of the end products made from the material. The study also examined fiber generation by region, international trade flows and more.
Crossroads Paper recently drew capital from an investment firm as it continues to develop a $320 million containerboard mill that would serve as a big buyer of recycled fiber in the western U.S.