PALATKA, FL , Nov. 23, 2020 (PRNewswire) -At Georgia-Pacific's Palatka, Florida, consumer products mill, water is crucial to everything from energy production to the precise paper stock recipes that eventually become the paper products people use every day. But the idea is to borrow – rather than consume – that water, returning the majority back to the natural environment in a safe manner.
The Palatka team has focused on reducing unnecessary water usage, one of the mill's key environmental metrics, and a recent project has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) EnergyStar Top Project for 2020.
"As a company, we believe in being responsible stewards of our natural resources," said Mike Griffith, general manager of the Palatka mill. "Since 2018, we have placed considerable focus on how much water we use daily and how much we can save. This work exemplifies the type of collaboration and results we see across the Palatka team every day and I'm proud of the team for identifying opportunities that strengthen and improve our operations and conserve resources."
The mill's kraft papermaking department team achieved a 40 percent water reduction in a 10-week period through investments in improved equipment and implementing ongoing monitoring of water usage.
"We evaluated our water systems used for making kraft paper and carefully mapped out where water was used – all the pipes and valves," said Jonathan Henley, technical capability leader for the kraft team at Palatka mill. "By understanding where water was going, how it was being used and flowing in the system, we could begin to tighten our system and reduce our usage over time."
The Palatka mill has a history of striving for environmental excellence. The mill was the first paper mill in the world to achieve the EPA's ENERGY STAR Challenge for industry, which requires improving energy intensity by 10 percent in less than five years. Palatka improved by 12 percent between 2016 and 2018.
The Palatka mill employs approximately 1,000, with an annual payroll and benefits of more than $70 million.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, building products and related chemicals. Our familiar consumer brands include Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Dixie, enMotion, Sparkle and Vanity Fair. Georgia-Pacific has long been a leading supplier of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers. Its Georgia-Pacific Recycling subsidiary is among the world's largest traders of paper, metal and plastics. The company operates more than 150 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly and creates approximately 89,000 jobs indirectly.