Papermaking plays an important role in our modern economy.  With historical roots in China, Egypt and Europe, early American papermaking began with linen mills in the Northeast and then developed in the hardwood forests of Appalachia and the pine forests of the South.  Eventually, paper production reached the Northwest, where it relied primarily on timber harvested from the Cascades.

Many traditional paper mills require on-site pulping and bleaching, which can require significant chemical inputs. By limiting production to recycled materials and adding on-site water treatment, Crossroads Paper will dramatically reduce chemical usage and water emissions. The result will be a much cleaner process that will not emit unpleasant odors.

Environmental protection is a critical part of the Crossroads Paper approach. From its reliance on recycled raw materials to its world-class water management systems, every part of the operation has been carefully designed to minimize its carbon footprint, while serving the community’s recycling needs and protecting the region’s natural resources.

RECYCLED RAW MATERIALS

To effectively transform used materials into beneficial new products, innovators need to identify markets for recycled products and then invest in the appropriate technology to clean, process and convert those used materials.

Crossroads Paper has been designed from its inception to use 100% recycled fiber. Each step in the operation is based on the requirement that all raw materials are recycled. While other papermaking facilities source raw materials from trees, not a single tree will be consumed at Crossroads Paper. Not one. By specifically and uniquely designing the operation to process only recycled fibers, everything at Crossroads Paper will be built from the ground up to make something new and useful out of something old and discarded. Recycling will not be an option at Crossroads Paper; it will be a way of life.

By carefully selecting and sourcing these recycled raw materials, Crossroads Paper will have the ability to control its production process and manufacturing specifications to ensure that its finished products meet the most demanding performance requirements. Years of recycling experience and a legacy of outstanding performance in addressing environmental issues will inform every step along the way.

Neighborhoods, local communities and government entities will play a critical role in the success of the operation, as they are the source for the recycled raw materials to be collected for re-processing. Strong and mutually beneficial relationships with these stakeholders will form the foundation for the long-term strength of Crossroads Paper.

WATER RESOURCES

Effective management of water resources is another foundation of the project. In the State of Utah, access to and management of water is of vital importance. Whether for agricultural, industrial or residential use, water is a precious commodity in the community and a critical part of any development project.

Papermaking requires water, and successful operations are efficient in their use, processing and treatment of this important resource. The volume of water required by Crossroads Paper will be far below the industry average, and the manner in which it is used will set the operation apart from the competition. In terms of water management, Crossroads Paper will be in a class by itself.

Water required for the project will come from existing water rights, and its usage fits within the hydrologic infrastructure of the region. Highly efficient water systems will minimize overall water demand, and process water will be treated on site to the highest standards of cleanliness. This modern approach to water management employed at Crossroads Paper will result in water consumption levels that are a small fraction of those required by older, less efficient facilities.

AIR QUALITY

Crossroads Paper subscribes to the highest possible standards of clean air. Because the operation will be built exclusively to produce unbleached containerboard from recycled raw materials, the pulping or bleaching processes that are common at other facilities will not be required. By avoiding these processes altogether, Crossroads Paper will eliminate the accompanying challenges they can bring to air quality.

ENERGY

Energy for the operation will be drawn from the existing power grid, and steam for the drying process will be generated using the same natural gas that heats many Utah homes. No coal, biomass or other fossil fuels will be burned on site.

ENVIRONMENT CONTROLS

Every step in the Crossroads Paper production process will be guided by applicable Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Utah Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) regulations. Discussions with DEQ have been extremely beneficial in determining how best to configure the project so that it can exist in harmony with the environment.

In addition, Crossroads Paper benefits from the input of recognized environmental leaders with years of experience managing the environmental impact of similar operations.

Recycling along the Wasatch Front takes many forms. While residential recycling is perhaps the most visible and widespread program, the commercial, retail, and manufacturing segments of the local economy have made significant contributions to the regional recycling landscape for several decades.

RESIDENTIAL

Residential curbside recycling programs have been in existence in the region since the early 1990s, when Sandy City was the first community in the valley to implement a comprehensive collection program. Since that time, every community along the Wasatch Front has added curbside recycling to its solid waste management plan.

COMMERCIAL & RETAIL

Early recycling efforts involved grocery stores baling used cardboard, also known as old corrugated containers (OCC). These bales were then collected by flatbed trucks and shipped to distant destinations along the West Coast to be made into rolls of containerboard—the base material for making new cardboard boxes.

In addition to grocery stores, other retail businesses embraced OCC collection.  Many early efforts involved collecting OCC in large roll-off containers and compactors rather than making bales on site.  These bins and compactors would then be delivered locally to recycling facilities where the material would be baled on high-capacity machines before shipping it in rail cars to mills along the West Coast or via intermodal containers to markets in Asia.  

More recently, smaller businesses and retail customers have been able to participate in recycling programs provided by their solid waste haulers. Often this takes the form of programs called “commercial single-stream” recycling. This allows small-quantity generators to collect various recyclable materials including OCC, office paper, plastic containers and metal cans.

INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING, AND DISTRIBUTION

Another source of recyclable materials is the region’s industrial, manufacturing, and distribution base. As this sector has grown dramatically within the past 40 years, so has the need to identify and recover the many and varied recyclable materials contained within their waste streams.

These collection programs are all currently in place and recovering recyclable materials on a regular and systematic basis, and the region’s solid commitment to keeping valuable resources out of local landfills continues to expand.

PROCESSING

As collection programs have rapidly grown, there has naturally been a corresponding need to expand the capacity and number of local processing facilities.  These facilities accept recyclable materials from the many regional collection programs and then sort, clean, shred, grind, bale and ship these resources to domestic and foreign markets.  

The largest of these regional processors is Rocky Mountain Recycling. With plants from St. George to Salt Lake City, the company accepts recovered materials from residential, commercial, and industrial recycling programs. Other regional and national recyclers also operate in the region and contribute to the local collection and processing infrastructure.

Over the past 20 years, Rocky Mountain Recycling has built a processing infrastructure that services the needs of the entire recycling community. With the rapid growth of curbside recycling from 2000 to 2010, Rocky Mountain Recycling installed the region’s first and only state-of-the-art material recovery facility, located in South Salt Lake. The plant went on-line in 2009 at a cost of over $10 million.

In 2016, Rocky Mountain Recycling also installed the region’s first automated commercial sort line. At a cost of over $2.5 million, this facility supports the burgeoning commercial recycling programs provided by local haulers. This processing capacity is utilized every day to keep valuable resources out of landfills and ready for end-markets.

Crossroads Paper will sit squarely in the center of the region it serves.  As a result, recycling efforts of the entire community will benefit by having a local and consistent market for the materials recovered through these programs.  No longer will recovered paper fiber need to make the costly and wasteful journey from the Salt Lake Valley to the West Coast and the Far East.  Crossroads Paper will provide both stability and long-term sustainability for the region’s decades-long commitment to recycling. 

Whether from residential, commercial, or industrial sources, the great majority of recovered materials are shipped via rail, shipping container, or over the road to reach distant destinations where the resources are made into products that can be reintroduced to the market.

Papermaking plays an important role in our modern economy. With historical roots in China, Egypt and Europe, early American papermaking began with linen mills in the Northeast and then developed in the hardwood forests of Appalachia and the pine forests of the South. Eventually, paper production reached the Northwest, where it relied primarily on timber harvested from the Cascades.

Modern paper operations have increasingly turned to recycled materials for feedstock, and the trend toward greater use of recycled fiber is now reaching global markets. With the advent of plantation tree-farming, many producers have been able to lessen the impact of their operations on native forests, while recycled paper producers continue to source the fiber they need from the paper-based products consumers dispose of each day.

As increasing amounts of information are produced and distributed digitally, the need for printed materials has been declining steadily. However, more and more consumer goods are being produced and shipped to homes and businesses using a wide range of packaging materials. It is precisely this market where Crossroads Paper will focus its efforts and output.

Crossroads Paper will use the latest generation of equipment and technology, supplied by global experts who specialize in the manufacture, engineering and construction of papermaking machinery. Components of this equipment will be sourced both domestically and internationally, and the world-class expertise of Utah companies will be involved in civil construction, infrastructure improvements and machinery installation. The result will combine the best resources the world and the local community can bring to this project.

STOCK PREPARATION

The first step in papermaking is the preparation of the raw materials. These raw materials generally consist of cellulose fibers, water, process chemicals and starch. Fiber can be sourced from trees grown specifically for that purpose or harvested from available forest resources. Fiber can also be collected from recycling operations and processors. Regardless of origin, the fiber must be softened and suspended in a liquid medium.

Fibers are softened and prepared for processing by exposing them to heat, moisture and pressure. Depending on the origin of the fibers, the process might include additional process chemicals. In recycling-based operations like Crossroads Paper, the additional chemicals required are minimized, since the recycled paper that feeds the operation breaks down into its constituent fibers much more rapidly than raw wood chips.

Fibers then pass through a refining process, where they are treated mechanically to prepare them to bond together more completely and thereby strengthen the final product. Once refined, the fibers are then diluted before being placed onto the paper machine.

FORMATION

Paper is formed when diluted fibers are distributed onto a moving web and process water is extracted from the aqueous solution via vacuum, pressure and heat. As the solution is delivered to the moving web from the highly advanced headbox, it contains less than 1% paper fiber, but by the end of the formation process, the paper web will be sturdy enough to sustain itself as it enters the press and drying sections of the machine.

DRYING

When the paper enters the press section of the machine, it is still extremely moist and not yet ready for its final use. It needs to be pressed and dried to achieve its desired performance characteristics. Pressure is applied to the moving paper through a series of interconnected rollers and blankets that extract the excess moisture.

The drying section of the machine is composed of a series of large, heated rollers that create an evaporative effect, thereby aiding in the drying process and preparing the paper to be rolled at the end of the process.

Starch is also added during the drying process to increase the strength of the finished paper, helping box makers and packaging customers protect their finished products.

The drying section moves in close coordination with the remaining parts of the production process to ensure that they achieve the desired result: efficient and cost-effective production of strong, new packaging materials.

CUSTOM REWINDING

When the papermaking process is complete, finished rolls will be just over 18’ wide, much larger than any box making company requires. To meet the needs of its customers, Crossroads Paper will rewind its master rolls to form smaller rolls according to the specific dimensions required by the market. This custom rewinding process will ensure that Crossroads Paper can adapt its output to local, regional and international demand.

Environmental protection is a critical part of the Crossroads Paper approach. From its reliance on recycled raw materials to its world-class water management systems, every part of the operation has been carefully designed to minimize its carbon footprint, while serving the community’s recycling needs and protecting the region’s natural resources.

Packaging and shipping are essential to consumer satisfaction.  Manufacturers, farmers, retailers, e-commerce companies and logistics providers all depend on packaging to move their products from many points of origin to limitless points of consumption.

Packaging materials, and the specific grades of containerboard to be produced at Crossroads Paper, are essential to ensuring that producers of all types of products can bring those products to market and delight their customers.

Over the past 100 years, box makers have perfected the blend of art and science that combines high-strength paper, demanding manufacturing tolerances and appealing graphic design to form efficient and cost-effective corrugated packaging.

What first began as a simple way to stiffen hats has evolved into the world’s leading means for transporting food and manufactured products. High-speed fulfillment operations and high-volume shipping companies both depend on the ongoing innovation and growth of the packaging industry.

CORRUGATION

The first step in the box making process is corrugation, where layers of paper are brought together to form high-strength cardboard panels. This process relies on heat, adhesive and starch to align the paper raw materials in the well-known wave patterns, or fluting, that are familiar to both consumers and packagers.

The specific patterns are determined by international standards and are known by a series of common designations (“A” flute, “B” flute, “C” flute, “F” flute) and combinations (“AB” flute, “BC” flute). Box customers specify these patterns based on the weight, distance traveled and climatic considerations for their individual shipments and provide those requirements to box manufacturers.

Box customers also specify the raw materials to be used in their packaging, and increasingly, these customers are requiring that their suppliers use recycled materials. The use of recycled containerboard, like the material to be produced at Crossroads Paper, is fundamental to the circular economy.

FINISHING

Once the containerboard has been formed using the desired flute configuration and cut to the appropriate size, graphics are printed on the corrugated sheets according to regulatory requirements, brand-building objectives and retailer needs.

Printed boxes are then cut into their final shape using specialized equipment and glued together to ensure product safety and security.

Printing on corrugated boxes can be extremely simple, using single-color graphics, or it can include highly complex, photo-quality imagery. Likewise, corrugated packaging can be extremely simple in its shape and configuration, or it can consist of highly complex structures designed to highlight and merchandise products in ways that are attractive to consumers and other end users.

PERFORMANCE

Boxes serve many important functions throughout the supply chain. They must protect products from external forces and potential damage. They must communicate their content to both human eyes and electronic systems so that products can efficiently and rapidly reach their destinations. They must attract consumers and satisfy their desires for interaction and connectivity to those around them.

Sophisticated systems have been developed to measure the performance of containerboard and finished boxes. Analyses of raw materials, containerboard and outgoing finished products all combine to continually evaluate the performance of the integrated web of papermaking and box making.

Crossroads Paper will meet or exceed the highest global performance standards for containerboard. This will allow customers to rely on the materials produced in Utah and guarantee that their products are able to meet the needs of end users.

It’s not hard to find corrugated packaging in today’s economy. At every turn there seem to be more products flowing through distinct distribution channels to an ever-widening number of delivery points, and many of those products make that journey in corrugated packaging.

This is not just happening in North America. In fact, it’s part of a much larger global trend.

The world of packaging materials is a global marketplace, where U.S. and Canadian firms compete alongside European, Asian and Latin American companies to supply the needs of consumers worldwide. Raw materials are sourced from rural forests and major cities. Papermaking takes place near metropolitan areas and in small towns. Box making occurs in urban centers and in suburban communities, wherever packaging needs can be met. A box of bananas might have gotten its start at a facility in Georgia, and a box for a microwave oven might have begun its lifecycle in British Columbia. Each of these traditional production centers plays a vital role.

Crossroads Paper enters this market excited to put its unique location, market knowledge and operational technology to the test alongside the best the world has to offer. The growth of manufacturing and logistics operations in Utah make it an ideal place for papermaking operations based on recycled materials. In previous decades the region might have been overlooked, but the expanding population in the Intermountain West and the region’s increasingly diverse manufacturing base highlight its connectivity to the world market.

Crossroads Paper is uniquely situated to meet these needs. Rather than collecting and shipping locally generated recyclables to far off re-processing facilities, the region will now be able to keep and process those materials in Utah. This will reduce costs for local consumers, minimize greenhouse gas emissions related to round-trip transportation, and streamline the packaging supply chain.

The total capacity of the operation will represent just a fraction of total U.S. containerboard demand (less than 1%), but its strategic location will make it an essential partner to regional packaging customers.

Manufacturers in Utah, farmers in Idaho and California, logistics companies in Nevada and shippers across the region will all benefit from this new investment in packaging materials. Add to that the recycling benefits for local governments, businesses and households, and it’s easy to see that this is a winning combination.

Crossroads Paper will also benefit from its association with CellMark, a leading global distributor of paper and cellulose fibers. Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and with more than 35 years of experience in the worldwide fiber market, CellMark will act as the exclusive sales agent for Crossroads Paper, bringing with it a broad network of commercial contacts and industry-leading expertise.

CellMark personnel will be co-located at the Crossroads Paper facility and will integrate directly with the operation’s production, shipping and distribution personnel. This close relationship will provide equally close coordination and ensure optimal service for customers throughout the region and beyond.

What will be the economic impact of this new project on the local economy?

The project will create several hundred new direct and indirect jobs in the Salt Lake Valley, with a total economic impact exceeding $1 billion over ten years.

How large is this new plant and how much recycled material will it process?

The plant is expected to produce approximately 1,000 tons of packaging paper per day and will be constructed on a site of approximately 80 acres.

Where is the new plant site going to be located

Site selection efforts have identified two excellent options in the Salt Lake Valley, and the final location will be announced upon completion of land acquisition. 

When will construction begin? When will the plant begin making paper?

Construction will begin in the coming months, and start-up of the operation is anticipated in early 2022.

How much will the paper mill cost? Is this project being financed by private or public investment capital?

The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $320 million, including infrastructure improvements, civil construction and water treatment facilities.  The project will be financed by private investment capital.

What will be the environmental impacts of having this new paper mill in Utah?

The operation will be based on local processing of locally generated recyclables.  In addition, by eliminating excessive transportation, this local facility will dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from trucks that currently carry these materials across Utah and out of state.  These reductions will surpass 100,000 tons of CO2per year, according to the Environmental Defense Funds’ Green Freight guidelines, or the equivalent emissions of 20,000 passenger cars.

In addition, local processing of recyclables will strengthen local recycling programs and keep useable materials out of local landfills.  This will sustain recycling programs that already operate in the community.

Don’t paper mills use a really large amount of water? As a naturally arid place, Utah faces frequent droughts and water conflicts among western states. Won’t this new paper mill put a strain on our already stretched water resources?

This project has been designed to operate with far less water than is typically used by traditional facilities.  Crossroads Paper will be able to produce paper using available water resources within Utah’s existing hydrologic infrastructure. 

Paper mills are known for using chemicals and discharging emissions that can pollute the surrounding area. What assurances or safety measures can you provide that this new mill will keep our community and environment safe?

Many traditional paper mills require on-site pulping and bleaching, which can require significant chemical inputs.  By limiting production to recycled materials and adding on-site water treatment, Crossroads Paper will dramatically reduce  chemical usage and water emissions.  The result will be a much cleaner process that will not emit unpleasant odors.

Will this new paper mill use recycled paper and corrugated boxes only from the Intermountain West, or will recyclable materials be shipped into the market from farther away?

The local market provides abundant recycled paper and cardboard boxes to supply the facility.  From time to time, a small number of additional shipments from nearby markets may be used. The growth of the local population and the expanded use of cardboard boxes within the region will result in sufficient materials to operate at optimal capacity.

With the growth of Amazon and other “direct-to-consumer” e-commerce, how will this new mill help with recycling so many more shipping boxes? How much of the mill’s input of recycled materials and paperboard will come from consumer recycling programs versus commercial retailers like Walmart, Target, etc.?

As consumers use more and more cardboard shipping boxes, the volume of boxes collected from residential routes will continue to increase.  Commercial and industrial collection is also expected to increase in Utah with the diversified growth of the local economy.  While the overall share of materials sourced from these systems may change over time, one-third of the raw materials are anticipated to come from homes and two-thirds from local industrial, retail and other institutional sources.

Since China is cutting back on buying U.S. generated recycled materials, how will this new paper mill help address the over-supply of recyclables in the U.S. and locally?

Global demand for recycled materials is shifting as China and other Asian markets reassess their demand for recycled paper.  By redirecting recyclable materials away from international markets and keeping them for domestic use, Crossroads Paper will be well-positioned to serve the expanding local need for packaging materials and lessen the dependence on foreign markets.

Why is this new plant ideally suited to the region? Why is it so unique?

Currently, U.S. paper production is concentrated in the Southeast, Upper-Midwest, and Pacific Northwest.  Utah has a robust and efficient collection infrastructure for recyclables, but recyclables must be shipped out of the region for processing and then shipped back in for production of new corrugated boxes.

100% of the new plant’s output will be recycled paper, and the recycled raw materials used at the facility will be collected from within the region.  No trees will be used in the production process.  Not one.

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