A recycled reality

One of the largest industrial expansions in Latrobe Valley’s recent history has been welcomed to the manufacturing landscape, with the completion of the $90 million recycling facility at Maryvale Mill.

Hailing the commencement of recycled copy paper production for market this week, Australian Paper’s chief operating officer Peter Williams said the wastepaper recycling and de-inking plant would soon extend production into envelope and printing paper production.

“This plant will take up to 80,000 tonnes of wastepaper out of Australia’s landfill each year,” Mr Williams said.

“It is a vital part of our future operations and we thank everyone who has made this investment in regional Victorian manufacturing possible.”

The construction was touted to have supported almost 1000 Australian jobs, while the plant’s operation is hoped to provide flow-on employment for about 250 people, mostly in the local manufacturing and wastepaper collection industries.

Initially planned for completion in March last year, the project faced ongoing weather disruptions, design complexities and industrial intervention.

However, Despite the delay, the recycling plant’s successful completion will be seen as a major success for the company, compared to Maryvale’s last major project. Last decade a pulp mill expansion experienced major budget and schedule blowouts, leading to the 2009 takeover by Japanese paper giant Nippon Paper Group.

Mr Williams said he hoped Australian Paper’s increased recycling capacity would boost lobbying efforts to secure lucrative Federal Government office supply contracts, currently being lost to European competitors.

“The government has specified that it will purchase 100 per cent recycled papers from 1 July this year and we are hopeful that all departments, federal and state, will recognise the sustainability advantages of Australian-made 100 per cent recycled paper over imports when making their purchase decisions,” Mr Williams said.

“Importing recycled paper made overseas only adds to Australia’s landfill and also generates significant sea-freight emissions.

“In contrast, removing 80,000 tonnes of wastepaper from Australia’s landfill saves up to 200,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, which is equal to taking more than 70,000 cars off Australia’s roads.”