PORT TOWNSEND –– Port Townsend Paper has earned an award for cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent since 2005.
The Northwest Pulp and Paper Association gave the paper mill the 2016 Environmental Excellence Award for its effort to reduce greenhouse gases.
In 2005, 153,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide were released from the mill.
That number has now dropped by 60 percent, to about 61,200 metric tons, said Kevin Scott, engineering and environmental manager, who expects the amount to continue to decrease.
“We are very honored to get this award,” he said. “It’s a significant milestone for any industrial facility.”
Port Townsend Paper produces kraft pulp, paper, containerboard and specialty products by blending virgin and recycled fibers at its mill.
The reduction in the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emission came after continued improvements to the mill’s boilers and steam system, Scott said.
With improvements to the steam system, the mill needed less steam to make the same amount of product, he said.
More often, the mill is now using such renewable fuels as waste bark and trimmings instead of oil.
That’s a win-win for the environment and for the mill’s pocketbook, Scott said.
“Oil is a relatively expensive fuel, even in today’s world,” he said, adding that Port Townsend Paper is working to get more oil out of its system.
Scott said Port Townsend Paper is continuing to make improvements and expects to reduce its carbon emissions by another 10 percent to 15 percent in the near future.
Port Townsend Paper and Crown Packaging President Colin Fernie said in a statement that it’s the 300 employees at the mill who were able to accomplish this.
“We appreciate the recognition and are committed to continued environmental stewardship,” he said.
Crown Paper Group CEO Steve Klinger called the achievement an important milestone in the mill’s transformation since Crown Paper acquired the mill last year.
“We are accelerating settlement pond remediation,” he said in a statement.
“We are converting to compressed natural gas. Port Townsend Paper is on an upward trend.”
Formed in 1956, the NWPPA represents 13 member companies and 16 paper mills in Washington, Oregon and Idaho on legislative and regulatory issues, with special emphasis on environmental and energy policy.
________Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected]