Jump to main content.

Project XL Logo

Weyerhaeuser Company

Executive Summary Briefing Paper

1111 19TH STREET, NW, SUITE 800,
PHONE: (202) 463-2700
DEPARTMENT FAX: (202) 463-2423


April 24, 1996

The Honorable Robert Perciasepe
Assistant Administrator for Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Bob:

In response to your request for additional detail showing the results of the industry's ongoing environmental research efforts, we asked NCASI to conduct an industry-wide survey to collect descriptions of environmental improvement projects undertaken without regulatory mandate.

To the extent possible, the information collected has been organized along the same lines as our earlier presentation to EPA - "Sustainable Environmental Pathways for the Pulp & Paper Industry."

We believe this new information validates the information given to you and your associates earlier and hope that it will be useful for your purposes.


Allen Koleff
Chair, Agenda 2020
Environmental Performance Task Group
Division Vice President, Environment,
Energy and Process Technology
Stone Container Corporation


cc: Mary Nichols
Tudor Davies
Bruce Jordan


Examples of the Forest Products Industry's
Continuing Commitment to Environmental Protection

April 24, 1996

In late 1995, the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) presented an overview of the forest products industry's environmental accomplishments and the industry's vision of sustainable environmental pathways to a number of EPA's top management. The presentation contained extensive information on the industry's overall progress in reducing environmental releases and in supporting research to foster further improvements. Because the presentation was intended to present an overall view of the industry, it lacked examples of individual company accomplishments.

In order to illustrate the types of individual efforts that have led to industry-wide progress, The National Council of the Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) recently requested its members to describe environmental improvement projects undertaken without regulatory mandates. The objective of the solicitation was to assemble a series of short case histories that would provide texture to the general picture of overall industry progress. The following summary is based on the responses to that solicitation.

NCASI did not use all of the examples it received, but instead selected a number of narratives that illustrate the variety of activities underway in the industry. The examples are organized according to the three pathways highlighted in the original presentation to EPA, specifically: (1) activities to better understand potential impacts and reduce those found to be significant; (2) projects and research to accomplish reductions at the source (i.e., pollution prevention); and (3) efforts to improve treatment of waste streams and emissions.


Those programs which enhance environmental quality through understanding and minimizing potential environmental impacts include activities in the area of forestry practices, habitat preservation, wildlife conservation and stream management, and receiving stream-related studies.

A. Forestry - Habitat Protection, Stream Management and Land Conservation

Participation in the AF&PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFITM) is now a condition of membership in AF&PA. The initiative requires over 200 forest products companies to reforest every acre harvested, protect wildlife, lakes and streams, enrich the diversity of plant and animal life, safeguard forests of special ecological value, and submit information on these efforts annually for compilation and independent review. On April 11, AF&PA released the first annual SFI progress report, prepared with the guidance of an independent panel of experts from academia, government agencies, non-government organizations (e.g., the Izaak Walton League and the Conservation Fund), and elsewhere. This report can provide the basis for EPA to judge for itself the seriousness of this industry's commitment to forestry practices that both protect the environment and ensure the long-term viability of the U.S. forest products industry.

Great diversity exists in the programs individual companies have implemented to enhance the forests they manage. this is a reflection of the diversity in our nation's forests and the need to tailor management practices to the characteristics of individual sites. Some of the activities cited by companies responding to NCASI's information request include:

- One mill reported on its program to preserve and protect the traditional land uses of the largest undeveloped estuary system on the East Coast.
- One company reported plans to identify unique and special sites to ensure their protection for future use. The company has so far identified 37 such sites.
- Several companies reported watershed research activities to study the impact of forest management activities on watersheds. Data generated will assist in managing the watersheds in the future.
- Many mills reported wildlife conservation and habitat protection programs. The types of programs include: (1) establishing 26,000 acres of timberland as deer wintering area: (2) establishing an 8400 acre wildlife and ecosystem research forest; (3) entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with a state parks and wildlife department to manage 50,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest to promote biodiversity and species richness; (4) signing a cooperative venture with the Secretary of the Interior to develop a model process to conduct biological inventories at a 6700 acre tract of land; (5) establishing a 300 acre wildlife management area as a key component of the state's participation in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; (6) developing an environmental assessment and habitat conservation plan for the red hill salamander; (7) implementing a project to enhance the habitat of Atlantic salmon along the rivers of southeast Maine; (8) entering into an agreement covering 2000 acres to aid in the protection and restoration of red-cockaded woodpecker; (9) developing a riparian management program designed to optimize the protection of deer wintering areas and other critical wildlife habitats; (10) participating in a plan to raise and release into Washington state streams over 200,000 salmon hatchlings; (11) participating in a plan to identify the presence of Houston Toads on forestland; (12) setting aside 1100 acres as a "pocket wilderness" for public use; (13) donating or selling on favorable terms nine unique sites covering 7700 acres in four states to the Nature Conservancy; (14) working on several stream enhancement projects in Oregon and California to improve the habitat of coho salmon and steelhead trout; and (15) inventorying the Mississippi populations of the gopher tortoise, a threatened species in the region, and developing a statewide conservation plan.
More detail has been included with the following examples to provide a better sense of the importance of these type of activities in the forest products industry:

- One company reported completing a Habitat Conservation Plan for the northern spotted owl and getting it approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its farm near Coos Bay, Oregon. This plan provides for long-term habitat management and enhancement of 209,000 acres of timberlands and was specifically designed to complement the northern spotted owl recovery effort by providing improved dispersal habitat between the company and late-successional reserves on adjacent federal lands.
- A number of companies in the South have reached agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify and protect the habitat and nesting sites of red-cockaded woodpecker, listed as an endangered species. One company reported that about 100 active colonies exist on roughly 55,000 acres of its lands in several states. Another company reported signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Croatan National Forest and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist the recovery of the red cockaded woodpecker by adjusting its forestry practices to protect nesting and feeding habitat where the company Coastal Tree Farm lands border active woodpecker colonies on adjacent Croatan National Forest lands.
- Two companies reported entering into partnership agreements with the National Wild Turkey Federation to develop forest management strategies and projects to maintain and increase wild turkey populations on their timberlands.
- One company reported that it had completed 10 additional watershed assessments in Washington and Oregon encompassing approximately 365,000 total acres, including 185,000 company-owned acres, bringing the total number of watershed assessments completed in these two states since 1993 to 21. Each of these assessments involved other forest landowners and interested stakeholders who share a common goal of improving water quality and fisheries and wildlife habitat in forested watersheds.
- One company reported that in Washington and Oregon it participated with state and federal agencies, non-profit and community groups, and university research biologists in several cooperative fisheries enhancement projects designed to improve the long term survival and productivity of wild anadromous fish stocks.
- Company-owned tracts provide rich habitat for animals such as deer, moose, turkey and quail. Many companies work with state wildlife agencies, hunting clubs and other organizations to build wildlife populations during off-seasons and to provide hiking trails to observe wildlife.
- One company reported working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and graduate students in surveying for the habitat of the Karner blue butterfly, federally listed as endangered in 1992. The butterfly habitat is enhanced by harvesting activities which create cleared areas for its only known food source, wild blue lupine.
- One company reported that, through a partnership with Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, it maintains a conservation easement surrounding Maine's Grand Lake streams to protect water quality and wildlife habitat. This stream is one of the few original habitats of landlocked salmon in Maine.
- One company reported that it had initiated a program to identify, designate and protect special areas and habitats that provide unique biological, historical and physical treasures. The program protects the characteristics of the most significant of these sites and provides opportunities for the public to view and experience these lands. Among the sites selected are Mariner's Tomb in southern Georgia, Palm Hammocks on the banks of Orange Lake in Florida, Francis Marion Snow's Island camp in eastern South Carolina, and Meddybemp's Heath in Washington County, Maine.
B. River Studies

The forest products industry has a long history of research into potential impacts of its discharges on aquatic ecosystems. An important element of this work has been the research conducted by NCASI. For more than 25 years, NCASI's aquatic biology research program has employed laboratory, experimental stream, and field research to improve the understanding of the conditions of compatibility between mill effluents and healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Individual companies, however, also have devoted considerable resources to understanding the health of the water bodies into which they discharge. In 1988, NCASI assembled documentation on the river studies conducted by pulp and paper companies in the vicinity of chemical pulp mills. Over 200 studies were identified encompassing over 45 mills and 40 receiving water sites. Of the 40 sites, minimal or no measurable impacts were found at 26 sites and small but measurable impacts (usually restricted to the mixing zone) were found at 11 sites. In the remaining three sites, the source of the effects, if any, of mill effluent were impossible to isolate due to the presence of several other contributors to the recovery waters. There has been no comprehensive effort to compile the results of industry river studies since 1988. In response to NCASI's recent information solicitation, however, several companies provided brief descriptions of ongoing river studies involving their mills:

- Eight companies reported periodic biological surveys and studies aimed at assessing the impact of mill discharges on receiving stream biological diversity and population densities. Fish tissue and sediment surveys are also conducted periodically at two facilities. One such study has been conducted at two year intervals since 1964.
- Another mill has been conducting annual studies for 25 years.
- Forest products companies have sponsored extensive water quality studies on the Willamette, lower Columbia, Penobscot, McKenzie, Clarion, Pee Dee, Arkansas and Pigeon rivers, Elevenmile Creek, and St. Andrew and Perdido bays. The costs of these studies ranged from several thousand to over $2 million.
- One company has conducted a three-year use attainability study at a cost of $3 million. As a result of this study, the mill plans to begin in 1997 a project which will implement process changes to reduce effluent color by 50 percent, install a 15-mile pipeline to relocate the mill discharge and install an oxygen injection system in the effluent. The cost of this project is estimated to be $50 million.

In AF&PA's earlier presentation to EPA, the industry documented the substantial reductions in environmental releases that have occurred over time. (See the handout materials in "Sustainable Environmental Pathways for the Pulp & Paper Industry - Development of Agenda 2020"). These reductions are the results of companies employing both source reduction and treatment in combinations tailored to specific mill circumstances. Some of the reductions, however, can be attributed primarily to source reduction. Among these are reductions in TCDD/F, chloroform (CHCl3), raw wastes loads of BOD, TSS, and color, and water use.

One in-process modification of growing important to bleached chemical pulp mills is the complete substitution of chlorine dioxide (ClO2) for chlorine (Cl2) in pulp bleaching (i.e. ECF bleaching). ECF bleaching essentially eliminates the formation of TCDD/F and other highly chlorinated organic matter and sets the stage for recovery of bleach plant filtrates in the Kraft recovery system. Between 1990 and 1995, ECF production grew from two to over 30 percent of the bleached chemical pulp produced in the United States. Where helpful for reducing costs or where needed to reduce waste loads of BOD, COD, and color, ECF bleaching is often combined with additional pulp delignification. It is against this backdrop of rapidly changing production practices for bleached chemical pulp that the following company examples must be viewed:

- One company reported that projects in progress will be completed by 1997 which will result in total conversion to ECF bleaching for approximately 3400 tons per day (TPD) of pulp. Four companies will achieve the same goals by 1996. Eight mills reported significant increases in ClO2 substitution over the last five years. One company reported that in 1992 an ozone bleaching plant costing $100 million was installed. Another will come on-line in 1996.
- Six companies reported producing over 3700 TPD of ECF pulp.
- One mill reported that it had reduced Cl2 usage by 50 percent and installed capacity to support 100 percent ClO2 in the future. The cost of this project was $40 million.
- One company reported that, between 1990 and 1995, ClO2 capacity at its mills had increased by 110,000 ton/year. As a result of additional ClO2 capacity, the level of ClO2 substitution in the bleach plant had increased by over 45 percent at bleach plants producing in excess of 3.5 million tons of pulp.
- One company reported that, between 1985 and 1995, modernization and redesign programs at its eight bleach plants resulted in an 85 percent reduction in AOX, COD and color reductions of 75 percent, a 25 percent reduction in total effluent volume and a 45 percent reduction in bleach plant effluent.
- One company totally eliminated hypochlorite as a bleaching chemical by 1990 on 1250 TPD of production. Another five companies eliminated hypo to meet the 33/50 commitment. Reported CHCl3 reductions at three mills were 374 ton/year.
- Seven mills reported using oxygen and peroxide enhanced extraction in their bleach plants. One reported using a high temperature peroxide stage in the bleach plant.
- One mill produces a medium brightness TCF pulp using hydrogen peroxide.
- One mill reported developing a project aimed at recycling bleach plant filtration from an ECF plant. In this process, bleach plant filtrates are used for pulp washing and, consequently, the dissolved solids from bleaching become part of the black liquor. In this way, dissolved organic matter from bleaching is destroyed in the Kraft recovery furnace. A mill demonstration of this process began in 1995 allowing recycle of two MGD of ECF filtrate to the final post oxygen washer, replacing fresh water. This program also includes a major research component to address potential impacts on mill processes and product quality.
- Fifteen companies reported installation of oxygen delignification (OD) systems in at least one bleach line. The total production of OD pulp of these companies exceeded 12,000 TPD.
- One 1600 TPD Kraft mill reported that an oxygen delignification system currently being installed would be in operation by the end of 1996.
- Five mills reported using extended delignification, which reduces the amount of chemicals required to bleach the pulp.
- Four mills reported installing brownstock and bleached pulp diffusion washers to enhance washing efficiency and decrease emissions. Two mills installed belt washers to improve pulp washing.
It is not just pulping and bleaching processes that have been adapted to reduce environmental releases. Companies provided NCASI with examples documenting the broad range of pollution prevention measures that can be implemented at mills where they are found to be cost-effective and environmentally advantageous. For instance:

- One mill increased paper production by 1000 TPD and pulp production by 400 TPD without increasing effluent mass loadings of BOD and TSS through a combination of equipment modifications, tighter best management practices (BMPs) and evaporator capacity increase.
- Another mill reported that improved BMPs resulted in decreasing treated effluent BOD from 1.65 lb/ton in 1991 to 1.07 lb/ton in 1995. During the same period, the effluent TSS was reduced from 4.19 lb/ton to 2.68 lb/ton.
- One mill installed a mill-wide sewer conductivity monitoring system tied to a mill-wide control system at a cost of $500,00 to provide quick identification and minimization of spills.
Water conservation programs have long been central to the pulp and paper industry's pollution prevention efforts. Approximately 70 percent less wastewater is generated in the production of a ton of paper today compared to 1959. Although the relatively simple water conservation and reuse opportunities have been largely implemented, companies continue to make reductions where they make sense at individual mill sites:

- A number of mills have reported implementing water conservation programs involving equipment modification and process changes. Four mills reported 26 MGD reduction in water use as a result of process modification. Water conservation technologies include white water reuse, use of surface condensers, gland and cooling water segregation, vacuum pump seal water segregation, and warm water recovery.
- Four mills reported reducing effluent flows by 700 gal/ton, 1500 gal/ton, 8500 gal/ton, and 12,000 gal/ton.
- One mill reported that, as a result of implementing a water reuse program, it had increased its production by 75 TPD without any increase in water usage.
- One mill reported conducting a two-year study on methods to reduce fresh water consumption by 40 percent at an unbleached Kraft mill. Funding to implement the findings of this study, expected to reduce water consumption by 2.9 MGD, will be requested in 1997.
- One company reported that at its facilities two major expansion projects were underway which would increase production by 1200 TPD without increasing water usage.
- At one Kraft mill, between 1990 and 1995, water usage per ton of production had been reduced by 25 percent.
- One company reported that between 1970 and 1995, the total effluent discharges at its seven pulp and paper mills decreased from 60,000 gallons/ton to 20,000 gallons/ton. During the same period, effluent BOD decreased from 65 lb/ton to less than 5 lb/ton, and total suspended solids decreased from 22 lb/ton to 6 lb/ton. Between 1985 and 1995, the effluent flow from this company's bleach plants has been reduced from 17,000 gallons/ton to 10,000 gallons/ton.
- A number of mills reported installing steam strippers to remove methanol and odorous reduced sulfur compounds from process condensates. This allows the stripped condensates to be used in the process, thus reducing water consumption a the mill. Currently over 40 steam strippers are in operation at Kraft pulp mills.
In some instances, companies have chosen to participate in broad-based and public pollution prevention tracking activities. Not only does the forest products industry have broad participation in EPA's 33/50 Program, several state programs have been initiated by the industry itself:

- One company reported that it exceeded the voluntary reduction goals of 50 percent, not only for listed chemicals under the 33/50 Program, but for all of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals in 1990 and 1993, respectively.
- Another company met and exceeded the 33/50 Program goals by 1992. One company reported that its TRI emissions were reduced by 55 percent (500,000 lb) between 1992 and 1994.
- One company achieved greater than 50 percent reduction in 33/50 chemical emissions one year ahead of the voluntary schedule.
- One company reported that it met its 33/50 commitment by 1994. At the end of 1995, the company's facilities had reduced their 33/50 chemical emissions by more than two million pounds (55 percent).
- One company achieved greater than 60 percent reductions in 33/50 chemical emissions two years ahead of schedule. At this company, the reductions between 1988 and 1994 equaled 1.3 million lb/year.
- In 1993, the Wisconsin Paper Council, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, launched the Pollution Prevention Partnership. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce the industry's release of pollutants which could affect the environment. It involves 27 paper companies and 43 facilities. The paper industry and the DNR agreed on criteria for identifying chemicals to be included in the program and prepared a list of over 130 covered releases based on those criteria. In addition, an historical data base going back to 1987 was compiled and reduction goals for 1999 were established. The second annual progress report, issued by the Wisconsin Paper Council in January 1996, contains company-identified summaries of progress toward the 1999 goals. Since 1987, the 43 facilities have achieved a production normalized reduction of 30 percent in the release of the substances identified in the project.
Pulp and paper companies are also seeking ways to reduce wastes through product substitution or recycling:

- One mill reduced hazardous waste generation by 90 percent by converting to a non-hazardous solvent for parts washing. Another reported a similar effort which resulted in a 40 percent reduction in solid waste generation.
- One mill substituted sulfuric acid for sulfur dioxide (SO2), a hazardous gas. One company reported that through product substitution, 10 of the division's 11 packaging plants were able to seek minor air permits rather than major permits.
- Two companies reported replacing solvents containing 1,1,1-trichloroethane with non-hazardous solvents
- One company reduced paper machine formaldehyde releases by 30 percent by partial substitution of wet strength resin.
- Many companies are working with suppliers to reformulate products to remove hazardous ingredients. One mill reported that between 1989 and 1994, the amount of solvents used per ton of pulp had been reduced from 15.9 to 7.8 lb.
- A number of mills provided information on their programs to minimize waste and keep hazardous materials from landfills. One company reported a program which recycled lead acid batteries, scrap metal (28 ton/month), chopped wire (3 ton/month), stainless steel and Ni-Cad batteries.

While the forest products industry has made, and will continue to make, great strides in reducing environmental releases at their source, waste treatment and emission control technologies continue to be an important component of the industry's environmental protection program. Companies are constantly striving to the find the optimum balance at each mill between making in-process modifications and installing add-on control technologies to reduce environmental releases. As part of this process, the industry continues in its attempts to improve the effectiveness and reduce the costs for add-on control technology.

A. Wastewater Treatment Technology

Over the last 20 or more years, the U.S. pulp and paper industry has learned how to design and operate highly effective wastewater treatment plants. Companies continue, however, to improve treatment efficiencies and reduce costs. The desire to avoid even minor excursions above permit limits has led companies to operate well below these limits. The result has been a demand for consistently high levels of waste treatment plant performance. A number of companies provided examples of performance improvements made for such reasons:

- One mill reported that between 1987 and 1994, the BOD and TSS discharges had been reduced from 5.0 and 11.2 lb/ton to 3.8 and 7.2 lb/ton, respectively. During the same period, phosphorus discharges had declined from 0.18 lb/ton to 0.08 lb/ton.
- Another mill reported that between 1979 and 1994, BOD discharges have been reduced from 2.5 lb/ton to 1.0 lb/ton, and suspended solids discharges had gone from 5.7 to 1.2 lb/ton.
- A third mill reported that between 1990 and 1994, BOD discharges had gone down from 3.9 to 2.6 lb/ton, and suspended solids had gone down from 7.0 to 2.1 lb/ton.
- A fourth company reported 19 and 24 percent reductions in BOD and TSS, respectively, between 1987 and 1994.
A variety of approaches have been reported to accomplish such improvements in wastewater treatment plant performance. These include improved pH control systems using carbon dioxide in place of sulfuric acid, improved or additional primary clarifiers, minimizing nutrient discharges to receiving streams, better control of wastewater treatment system operational parameters, nutrient addition and aeration equipment modification. Companies reported a number of specific examples:

- One mill reported installing an anaerobic wastewater treatment system for use on high strength waste prior to discharge to a POTW.
- One mill reported installing concrete liners in two cells of a 30 acre wastewater treatment lagoon at a cost of $7.5 million.
- One mill reported completing a $1.8 million waste treatment system modification which added new instruments and enhanced aeration efficiency.
- One mill conducted pilot trials to evaluate the use of ozone for wastewater treatment.
B. Control of Gaseous Emissions

Pulp and paper mills have long used control equipment to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants and total reduced sulfur (TRS) compounds. Over time, additional sources have been addressed and the control devices have become more effective. The examples shown below illustrate this:

- One company reported that in order to reduce SO2 emissions from TRS thermal oxidizers, scrubbers were installed at two Kraft mills. The same company reported upgrading blow heat recovery systems at four mills, installing condensate steam strippers at two mills, and installing backup thermal oxidizers to minimize TRS venting at three Kraft mills.
- A number of facilities reported installing other technologies to reduce emissions. For instance, two mills installed backup TRS thermal oxidation systems, while two others installed SO2 scrubbers.
- One mill reported upgrading smelt dissolving tank scrubbers, and one mill installed a particulate control device on the lime silo and recovery furnaces.
- A number of mills reported significant upgrades of their noncondensible gas collection systems to enhance their reliability and uptime.
- One mill reported installing an odor control and gas capture system at a sludge and ash landfill.
- Upgrades of recovery furnaces were reported by four companies. The projects involve installation of new recovery furnaces, conversion of existing direct contact furnaces to non-contact design and upgrades in air systems and economizers. Upgraded furnaces generally emit lower levels of TRS, SO2, carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter.
The reductions accomplished by these improvements and extensions of technology have, in some cases, been dramatic. Several companies provided examples:

- One company reported that between 1987 and 1994, CO emissions had been reduced from 31.2 to 12.0 lb/ton, and SO2 emissions had been reduced from 31.5 to 19.3 lb/ton.
- Another company reported that between 1979 and 1994, SO2 emissions had been reduced from 55 lb/ton to 11.6 lb/ton, and particulate emissions had been reduced from 6.2 lb/ton to 1.0 lb/ton.
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to emissions of substances designated as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) under the Clean Air Act. At pulp and paper mills, this has meant increased study and control of emissions from pulping and bleaching. As in the case of wastewater controls, the control of air pollutants, especially HAPs, has required a mill-by-mill examination of the optimum balance of process modifications and control technologies:

- Scrubbers for removing Cl2 and ClO2 from bleach plant vents have been installed widely in the industry. One mill reported installing scrubbers on the bleach plant and the ClO2 generator at a total cost of $3.2 million.
- Three mills reported installing by 1990 bleach plant scrubbers capable of meeting the projected MACT requirements on 3400 TPD of production.
- One company reported that between 1988 and 1994, while production increased by 60 percent, Cl2, ClO2, and CHCl3 emissions decreased by 95, 80 and 75 percent, respectively.
C. Solid Waste Minimization Through Recycling and Beneficial Use of Process Solid Waste and Sludge Disposal

Pulp and paper companies are intensifying their efforts to reduce their reliance on landfills for solid waste disposal. Mills have implemented extensive programs aimed at solid waste minimization through recycling, beneficial use and energy recovery. These programs involve not only sludge, but also ash and miscellaneous solid wastes. Beneficial uses range from energy recovery and land application to a variety of by-products. The industry's experience has shown that beneficial use opportunities tend to be highly site-specific. The examples shown below illustrate the variety of programs being pursued in the industry:

- The interest in land applying solid wastes is increasing rapidly. Cooperative research projects are being carried out at a number of universities, including the University of Georgia, Auburn University, the University of Minnesota and Clemson University, to evaluate paper mill wastes for land application. Companies reported a wide variety of projects involving land application or other agricultural/silvicultural utilization including:
- using mill sludge to reclaim strip mines
- using 35 TPD of sludge for land application
- landspreading 85 percent of the solid waste from the waste treatment system
- developing a soil amendment product which uses 215,000 tons of sludge/year
- applying 60,000 yd3 of sludge and 3000 yd3 of compost to farmland
- applying 36,000 tons of sludge and bark ash over a nine-month period
- producing over 300 tons of a calcitic limestone agricultural material from wastes
- supplying 180,000 yd3/yr of mixed wastes to farmers for land application
- research on the use of lime mud rejects and wood fly ash for mine reclamation
- using boiler ash at an airport under the state's beneficial reuse program
- using boiler ash as a liming agent
- selling lime solids to farmers as a liming agent
- use of lime solids as a filler for asphalt
- selling lime solids to another paper mill as a neutralizer
- selling boiler ash for use in potting soil
- marketing boiler ash as an agricultural supplement
The interest in beneficial uses for solid waste is not limited to land application and agricultural utilization:

- One mill reported a project aimed at using paper mill sludge for producing lightweight aggregate for the concrete industry. Another mill reported being involved in research to use boiler ash as an aggregate in cement. A third mill reported recycling boiler ash and waste treatment plan sludge as a raw material for cement manufacture.
- One mill reported that it had implemented a program of grinding wood waste from lumber mill operations to generate fuel. Two mills reported projects aimed at mixing sludge with coal to improve the fuel value of the sludge.
- Three mills reported using primary clarifier sludge as raw material for manufacturing corrugating medium. Wastewater treatment sludges are commonly used as furnish at recycled paperboard mills.
- One mill reported using 300,000 cubic yards of sludge for capping a landfill.
- One mill reuses gritty bark on forest roads for improved fire prevention access.
- One company reported that in 1995, at nine of its manufacturing sites, projects had been implemented which resulted in: (a) using wood waste as poultry bedding, landscaping material, and boiler fuel; (b) converting log yard waste into bark mulch, fill material and compost; (c) converting sludge from recycling into gypsum board; and (d) applying wood ash as agricultural liming agent. Similar projects are being initiated at 22 additional sites belonging to this company.
As a result of the efforts to find beneficial uses for solid wastes, companies have reduced their reliance on landfills. A number of companies cited their own experience:

- As a result of implementing a variety of beneficial use programs, one mill reported that between 1987 and 1993 the amount of waste material sent to landfills decreased from 20 million ton/year to two million ton/year.
- One company reported that its solid waste reduction program had reduced the amount of material sent to landfills by 17 percent in 1994, following a 19 percent reduction in 1993.
- Another reported reducing solid waste to landfill by 93 percent between 1987 and 1995.
- One mill reported that as a result of its sludge landspreading program, it had discontinued the use of its landfill.


The industry's overall progress in: (a) understanding and minimizing its potential impact on the environment; (b) reducing environmental releases at the source; and (c) applying effective treatment to its wastes and emissions was documented in "Sustainable Environmental Pathways for the Pulp and Paper Industry - Development of Agenda 2020." In this follow-on report, which highlights a series of company programs, the variety of voluntary measures that account for the industry's progress are documented. In the context of the industry's overall accomplishments, these examples reflect a dynamic industry working toward a sustainable future via pathways that allow site-specific decisions best suited to individual mill circumstances.

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.