AF&PA reports record recovered paper consumption by US mills in 2021

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Washington, has released results from its “62nd Paper Industry Capacity and Fiber Consumption Survey,” which shows overall U.S. paper and paperboard capacity declined 0.4 percent in 2021 compared with the average decline of 1 percent per year since 2012.

The organization says survey responses indicate total paper and paperboard capacity will remain flat in 2022, with increases in boxboard and newsprint, stability in containerboard and tissue and a decline in printing-writing papers.

The report details U.S. paper industry capacity data for 2021 and 2022 for all major grades of paper, paperboard and pulp, as well as fiber consumption, based on what the AF&PA says is a comprehensive survey of all U.S. pulp and paper mills. Data include responses from companies representing more than 88 percent of U.S. paper and paperboard capacity, with AF&PA noting that estimates completed the data set.

Several notable findings were among the results, including recovered paper consumption at U.S. paper and paperboard mills, which increased 3.9 percent in 2021—the highest level of recovered paper consumption by domestic mills since 2008. It also marks the highest ever share of total fiber consumption at U.S. mills and the ninth consecutive year of increases in the share from 36 percent in 2012 to 41.6 percent in 2021.

Containerboard capacity expanded for the 11th consecutive year and reached a record high of 42.3 million tons. According to the AF&PA, it is the fastest rate of containerboard expansion in 25 years. As a result of increases and decreases in other grades, containerboard’s share of total paper and paperboard capacity exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2021.

The AF&PA also notes boxboard capacity increased 0.6 percent in 2021, outperforming a long-term trend of a 0.4 percent decline and following a 2.5 percent decline last year.

Tissue paper capacity remained the same in 2021, according to the survey results, AF&PA says.

The organization also says the U.S. paper and paperboard industry responded to shifting demands by repurposing nine machines to produce packaging grades.

Photo courtesy of Huhtamaki
From left: Hammond Plant Manager Rich Blastic, United Steelworkers International Representative Bob Lofton, Huhtamaki President and CEO Charles Héaulmé, President Huhtamaki North America Ann O’Hara, Head of Fiber & Pressboard Operations – North America Marc Doiron and Head of Goodyear Operations Rich Mills

Huhtamaki announces $100M expansion of Hammond, Indiana, facility

Huhtamaki North America, a De Soto, Kansas-based manufacturer of packaging for the consumer goods, retail and food service markets, has announced plans to expand its Hammond, Indiana, facility. The company says the expansion will add capacity for its molded fiber products.

Huhtamaki North America says it expects an investment of nearly $100 million, resulting in the creation of about 100 jobs.

“The design of this new facility will provide the capability to build another world-class asset,” says Rich Blastic, Hammond plant manager for Huhtamaki. “We plan to continue on our path of building 21st-century work environments that are good for our customers, employees and communities. We are very excited about this project and looking forward to the growth it will create for our company.”

The investment will add about 250,000 square feet to the facility. Construction began this summer, and the company says it expects it to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.

Huhtamaki says its Hammond facility makes “molded fiber drink carriers and egg filler trays [that] are distributed to numerous grocery and retail outlets.” In its 2021 annual report, the company says globally 66.6 percent of the raw materials it used were “renewable or recycled materials” and 98 percent of its fiber infeed consisted of “certified or recycled fiber.”

“This is an investment made to serve our customers in the consumer goods and retail markets with some of our core products,” says Ann O’Hara, president of Huhtamaki North America. “The addition to our Hammond, Indiana, facility will expand our capacity, building on the success of earlier expansions and leveraging our global expertise in molded fiber.”

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