By Tim Campbell • Guest Columnist
Jackson Paper Manufacturing Company has been a proud part of Sylva and Jackson County since 1995. Our community’s highly-skilled and dedicated workforce, solid infrastructure, good business climate and quality of life all combine to make the area a great place to work and live.
We are pleased and fortunate to be able to build on the success we’ve had at Jackson Paper by establishing a new operation in Sylva, Stonewall Packaging. Announced in April, the new venture will take the fluted corrugating medium being made from 100-percent recycled paper at Jackson Paper and linerboard from other manufacturers to produce corrugated sheets of cardboard.
The more than $17 million investment in Stonewall will create 61 new jobs over the next three years. The jobs will pay an average of $39,344 not including benefits. Jackson County’s average annual wage is $27,820.
Renovations are already under way on Scotts Creek Road at the old, 200,000-square-foot Chasam Building, which will house the new Stonewall operation. One natural gas boiler that meets or exceeds industry standards for emissions will power the facility. Production is expected to begin there in late fall.
In Phase 2 of the Stonewall project, the company will build a new mill similar to the 139,000-square-foot Jackson Paper manufacturing facility, including a wood-fired boiler and stack. The new mill, to be located on a site adjacent to Jackson Paper, will produce linerboard from 100-percent recycled cardboard. Although we may be permitted to do so, there are no plans to use any fuel source other than wood at the Stonewall mill.
Phase 2 could begin in two to three years, but is contingent on the economy and the demand for the product continuing to grow.
Jackson Paper Manufacturing Company was established in 1995, but the mill sits on an industrial site that has been home for more than a century to various manufacturers, including Mead, which operated a paper mill for nearly 50 years. Federal rules governing the discharge of effluent resulted in closure of the Mead operation in 1974. Subsequent owners converted the mill to the production of 100-percent recycled corrugated medium with a closed-loop water treatment system and began the work of cleaning up the site.
Since 1995, Jackson Paper has invested significantly in facility and machine upgrades at the mill and has systems in place that meet or exceed government mandates and regulations for air and water quality.
Unlike most paper mills, Jackson Paper does not use fossil fuels to fire its boiler but burns waste-wood. The boiler generates steam that powers the turbine-driven paper machine and dryers, and heats the plant. A pollution control scrubber prevents wood ash from leaving the boiler.
With an annual output of more than 100,000 tons of corrugating medium, the mill is the largest producer of 100-percent recycled paper in the state of North Carolina.
Jackson Paper diverts approximately 109,000 tons of Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) – or cardboard – from landfills annually. That’s the equivalent of 72 million boxes the size of an average microwave.
Jackson Paper’s closed-loop water system and treatment facility allows the plant to reuse the large quantities of water needed in the papermaking process, resulting in zero discharge of waste into the stream or sewer.
Many of Jackson Paper’s environmental practices have been recognized by government and business groups, both inside and outside the paper industry. Most recently, the company earned the Sustainable Forestry Initiative designation of the Forest Stewardship Council for its recycling efforts.
Jackson Paper takes very seriously its role as good and responsible stewards of our environment and our communities, and we are committed to applying those same guiding principles and practices as we move forward with the Stonewall project and creating more jobs for the people of this region.
(Tim Campbell is President and CEO of Stonewall Packaging and Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co., an independently-owned mill in Sylva that produces 100-percent recycled paper used by independent box manufacturers to make the fluted layer of corrugated boxes. With 119 employees, Jackson Paper is one of the largest private employers in Jackson County.)