AF&PA Announces 2021 Award‐Winning Sustainability Projects

AF&PA Announces Award‐Winning Sustainability Projects
Eight member companies recognized for outstanding efforts to improve workplace safety and
the environment.

WASHINGTON – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) announced its 2021
Sustainability Award winners today. These awards recognize exemplary sustainability programs
and initiatives in the paper and wood products manufacturing industry.
“This year was a record‐setting year. We received more submissions than ever before,” said
AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “This trend underscores the value of sustainability to our
industry. Our members strive to reach new limits of possibility, and these awards give us an
opportunity to shine a spotlight on industry innovation.”
Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 is one of the longest standing sustainability initiatives for a
U.S. manufacturing industry, established more than a decade ago. The Sustainability Award
winners demonstrate the industry’s long‐held commitment to improving practices that result in
a brighter future and better planet.

AF&PA congratulates the following winners:

Leadership in Sustainability – Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Georgia‐Pacific: Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong: Designed with Environment in Mind
Georgia‐Pacific’s Quilted Northern brand saves 30 percent more water and uses 30 percent less
energy by using efficient manufacturing technology to squeeze more water from tissue paper
before drying – a sustainable product designed with the environment in mind.

Leadership in Sustainability – Safety
WestRock: Hazard Hunter Program
WestRock’s Hazard Hunter Program engages teammates to identify and address hazards that
could result in safety incidents. New and improved safety procedures are documented in
traditional standard operating procedures but then, also filmed for a video library to support
multi‐dimensional learning. The innovative team approach has resulted in identification of
hundreds of potential hazards and advances WestRock’s goal toward a 100% safe workplace.

Leadership in Sustainability – Sustainable Forest Management
Green Bay Packaging: Sustainable Forestry – Growing Success Together
Green Bay Packaging partnered with the Sustainable Forest Initiative® (SFI), American Forest
Foundation and the American Tree Farm System to advance and pioneer the SFI Small Lands
Group Module Certification, as the ‘first in the paper industry’. Since starting the program in
2020, Green Bay has qualified 100+ landowners representing more than 40,000 acres and this
success continues to grow! This partnership adds value for family landowners to increase
certified sustainable forests in the U.S., while at the same time reduces barriers, such as the
cost of certification.

Leadership in Sustainability – Water
Essity: Midwest Region: Water Use Reductions & Effluent Quality Improvements
Through great initiative, creative thinking and teamwork—and without major capital
investments—Essity’s Midwest team improved effluent water quality and increased water
conservation. Notably, at its Menasha, Wisconsin paper mill, Essity decreased direct discharges
of Phosphorus by 55 percent and Total Suspended Solids by 35 percent, and reduced its
freshwater use by 20 percent. And at its nearby converting facility in Neenah, the team reduced
municipal water use by 20 percent.

Leadership in Sustainability – Paper Recovery for Recycling
New‐Indy Ontario: Stock Preparation Efficiency Project
New‐Indy improved repulping systems at its Ontario, California mill by adding additional
screening and de‐trashing capacity. The additional equipment delivered higher fiber recovery
yield and provided the ability to consume mixed paper in all products without sacrificing
quality. In addition to raw material cost savings, New‐Indy’s waste stream was also reduced.
The improved fiber recovery efficiency resulted in 5,500 tons less waste leaving the mill.
Additionally, 10,000 tons of mixed paper with no outlet were processed by the mill and
diverted from the landfill.

Leadership in Sustainability – Paper Recovery for Recycling
WestRock: Scan. Learn. Recycle. Pizza Box Recycling Program
WestRock teamed up with Domino’s Pizza and other industry partners to clear up
misconceptions about pizza box recycling. The project took a three‐prong approach: Study the
impact on grease and cheese on recycling, assess consumer access to pizza box recycling, and
launch a public educational portal to spread the word that pizza boxes are recyclable. Since an
estimated 3 billion pizzas are consumed in the U.S. each year, that’s about 600,000 tons of
potential fiber recovery.

Innovation in Sustainability
Georgia‐Pacific: Innovations Across the Recycling Supply Chain
Georgia‐Pacific introduced three innovations in 2020 to address the recyclability of products.
Partnering with a major online retailer, Georgia‐Pacific developed a paper‐based mailer that is
100 percent curbside recyclable. The company also introduced Dixie® ecosmart® 100% Recycled
Fiber Hot Cups – America’s first hot cup made from 100 percent post‐consumer recycled fiber.
Georgia‐Pacific is also working to increase paper cup recycling by investing in recycling
infrastructure and working with municipalities to increase acceptance of paper cups to curbside
recycling programs.

Innovation in Sustainability
Sonoco: EnviroSense™ PaperBlister™ Packaging
Sonoco Alloyd introduced EnviroSense PaperBlister packaging, a recyclable alternative to the
traditional blister packaging, that works with existing sealing equipment lines. EnviroSense
PaperBlister packages are made entirely from renewable resources and curbside recyclable.
The all‐paper packaging offers a more sustainable option that is highly efficient in the delivery
stream, allowing more packages per truckload and reduced shipping costs.

The 2021 AF&PA Sustainability Award winners were selected by a judging panel of sustainability
experts from the Department of Energy, GreenBlue, Quad Packaging and Wisconsin Institute for
Sustainable Technology.
Visit for more information on
these award‐winning projects.