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Willamette Falls Paper develops kraft paper made with agricultural waste fibres


January 13, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Willamette Falls Paper Company, a non-integrated mill in West Linn, Oregon, has added a new natural kraft paper grade to its reHARVEST family of products.

Initially, Willamette Falls Paper will be producing natural kraft paper using a minimum of 30 per cent agricultural fibres – in this case, wheat straw. Natural kraft paper uses include flexible packaging applications such as paper bags, pouches and poly-coating basestocks.

The reHARVEST natural kraft paper met typical bag strength tests and has been successfully converted and printed in trials. The bags are a bright golden colour with no fibre bleaching, which the mill says is a unique attribute of straw fibre.

The natural kraft paper is FDA compliant and will be available in 30# to 70# basis weights (49 to 114 GSM).

Willamette Falls Paper has reconfigured the mill to dedicate one machine to brown grades and two machines to manufacture both high-bright coated and uncoated legacy grades. Commercial production of the natural kraft grades is estimated to start at the end of January.

“With so many states, like Oregon, working to reduce the use of plastic bags, we are excited to be able to offer a more sustainable choice in paper and packaging,” says Phil Harding, director of technology and sustainability at Willamette Falls Paper Company. “The mill has a long-term goal of developing natural kraft grades with up to 100 per cent straw fibre.”

Package Containers, Inc. is the converter for the reHARVEST paper into the paper bag line.

Willamette Falls Paper uses wheat straw agricultural waste to produce high-quality papermaking fibres as an alternative to field burning. The pulping is done at a recently commissioned wheat straw pulping plant that generates zero effluent and zero solid waste.