von Drehle’s Paper Mill - Cordova, North Carolina
Our paper mill produces “parent rolls” to be used in our converting facilities. This 100+ acre, 400,000+ square feet facility contains two paper machines that are capable of producing over 50,000 tons per year of quality towel and tissue parent rolls. This mill is classified as a “Recycling Center” from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Each and every parent roll that is produced at our Cordova paper mill is made from 100% recycled paper fiber. Not a single tree is harvested to supply our paper mill. This recycled paper fiber contains approximately 60% post consumer content – diverting thousands of tons of waste paper from the landfill each year.
Deinking & Cleaning
To be able to use recycled fiber and post consumer waste, a deinking and cleaning process is required to remove inks, clays, and other impurities that would discolor or corrupt the finished product. Many facilities use harsh, hazardous chemicals in these processes – all of which create a multitude of environmental problems and concerns. Chemicals and compounds such as chlorine, chloroform, lead, chromium, mercury, nickel, etc., all need to be disposed of.
The von Drehle Corporation does not use solvents containing chlorine, benzene, cadium and cadium compounds, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, chromium and chromium compounds, dichloromethane, lead and lead compounds, mercury and mercury compounds, methylethylketone, nickel and nickel compounds, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, 1-trichloroeane, trichloroethylene, or xylene.
The von Drehle Corporation recently invested millions of dollars to upgrade our deinking and cleaning capability. This state-of-the-art system allows us to run a wider variety of waste paper – up to 100% post consumer waste – further reducing the amount of waste paper destined to end up in landfills. Furthermore, this new deinking facility is able to use about 90% less water than the industry average. This results in an annual savings of nearly 400,000,000 gallons of water.
A by-product of the deinking / cleaning process is sludge, which primarily consists of clay and ash but also contains the inks removed from the waste paper. Many paper mills dump this sludge in landfills. von Drehle however, has developed a program where we take this sludge and, with a fleet of von Drehle tractors, spread it out on large tracts of land, plow it into the soil, and grow cover crops. Not only does this improve the soil texture and its ability to hold moisture, it enables us to divert approximately 2,500 dump truck loads per year from the landfills. Furthermore, as the sludge breaks down, it provides nutrients to the soil. An additional benefit for “farming” the sludge is a 65% reduction in the cost of fossil fuel to haul it to the landfill.
Another improvement is the conversion from diesel fuel to propane as a back-up fuel source for natural gas. The propane burns cleaner, and unlike diesel fuel, it does not have a shelf life. Diesel fuel must be “reconditioned” every few years resulting in additional cost and waste.