CHEBOYGAN — In March of this year, Cheboygan Paper Company Great Lakes Tissue was able to purchase equipment with the support of the Carton Council of North America, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. This allows us to reduce waste, save money, and invest in Michigan’s growing circular economy.
Great Lakes Tissue takes materials that end up in landfills, extracts usable fibers, and uses the materials to create products. But fibers aren’t the only materials that make up these products, and the company ends up with about 30% plastic and aluminum residue called polyethylene and poly/aluminum, which can’t be used to make new ones. .
With a $250,000 donation from EGLE and Carton Council, plus additional funding from MDARD, Great Lakes Tissue purchased a high density extruder. This reduced the amount of water in the remaining plastic waste from 60% to 15%, making it lighter and easier. to the ship. They also purchased a compactor and a walking floor trailer to haul the materials.This has not only reduced water usage, but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by allowing the polyfill material to be transported with less load.
“Great Lakes Tissue is a great example of a business in northern Michigan that is a world leader in making milk cartons as reliable as toilet paper. said Matt Fletcher of
“We try to recycle all of this material, but only a portion of that milk carton is recycled. It’s about turning lots of materials into new products.”
The company now ships about 60,000 tons less water each year, according to Julie LaFond, plant engineer and general project manager at Great Lakes Tissue.
“There are so many possibilities and uses that you can actually take residual waste and turn it into another product, which is a big thing right now in states with whole recycling circuits. The economy,” says LaFond.
“The whole idea is to use as few raw materials as possible. It’s not about sourcing materials and making another brand new plastic water bottle, you take it and turn it into a different product, reducing the amount of raw virgin material you’re using.
Great Lakes Tissue takes unusable polyfill material and ships it to other companies that can find a use for it. Currently, the only company they ship to is St. He Mary’s Cement of Charlevoix, which uses the material as an alternative fuel to coal, LaFond said.
In addition to reducing its own waste, Great Lakes Tissue’s goal is to find other Michigan companies that can use Polyfill to create new products. It’s made of plastic instead of wood,” Lafond said.
“We kind of have a dual interest in the recycling industry in Michigan and the region, not just bringing in recycled materials, but looking for uses for this end-waste by-product that we have. I have,” Lafond said.
“Having support from two state agencies and groups working locally within the recycling industry is huge. We are a small company and we cannot do it alone. And there is a lot of potential, which opens the door for future collaborations and other equipment that we can identify to help support business growth and recycling goals.”
Cooperation between businesses, the state, and private organizations is essential to increasing recycling and expanding Michigan’s circular economy.
“So there is a lot of collaboration with companies because the way we have been dealing with waste is not sustainable in the long term. It’s not possible,” said Fletcher.
“Why would we pay to put something in a hole in the ground and watch it for generations and hope it doesn’t leak? That it doesn’t cause groundwater pollution.” but (but) make sure it’s not a problem in the future. I know there is.”