GP showcases award-winning innovation projects to mark 20 years of its Environmental Excellence Awards; projects include waste recycling successes at its cellulose pulp mill in Brunswick, Georgia, and its consumer products mill in Plattsburgh, New York

ATLANTA , April 10, 2014 (press release) – We’re celebrating the 20th year of Georgia-Pacific’s Environmental Excellence Awards. The program showcases the best-of-the-best in environmental performance within Georgia-Pacific. Here are the highlights from this year’s award-winning, innovative projects:

From Trash to Trays:
As part of an ongoing effort to reduce its environmental footprint, Georgia-Pacific’s consumer products facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y., looked for ways to reduce the amount of paper mill waste fiber going to the local landfill. The facility soon realized it had a solution in its own back yard. It teamed up with a neighboring company that could use the fiber material, a byproduct from the mill’s water filtration process, for manufacturing molded coffee cup trays. This reuse initiative diverted more than 600 tons of residuals every year from the landfill to a beneficial use.

GP’s Green Teams:
Georgia-Pacific’s Building Products business sought to improve its process for creating a skilled talent pool of environmental professionals by implementing an Environmental Entry Level Professional (ELP) Program. ELP professionals go through a rigorous, year-long training program that simultaneously builds environmental compliance expertise and hands-on operational and leadership skills. The program enhanced mentor development and improved training processes for all incoming environmental professionals across the business. It not only improved environmental talent and enabled positions to be filled quickly, but more importantly, it also ensured compliance and consistent application of environmental performance standards across facilities.

Pulp for Pets:
For several years, the Brunswick, Ga., cellulose mill has been focused on operating strategies to reduce, recycle and reuse each of its manufacturing waste streams that have historically been routed to an onsite landfill. After investigating best practices at other mills and researching non-traditional uses for its residual materials, in 2013 the mill reduced waste going to the landfill by more than 90 percent. One solution included working with an animal bedding manufacturer to use leftover pulp fiber for its products. Other products being made from the mill’s residual waste include containerboard, water filters, fish aquarium filters, garden mulch, top soil and soil amendments. In 2014, the mill has a goal to recycle 100 percent of its residual materials.

Gypsum’s Soil Solution:
Employees from our gypsum business were tasked with reclaiming 77,000 cubic yards of waste gypsum from an idle facility in Utah. After hearing that a local farmer needed clean gypsum for soil amendment on a hay farm, employees began testing samples and working with local agencies to approve use of the product. The team also discovered that the gypsum could be used by cement manufacturers and for other land application uses, further diverting waste from the landfill.

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