What is Australian Paper doing? Australian Paper is Australia's only office and printing paper manufacturer and has invested $90 million in a waste paper (deinked pulp - DIP) recycling facility in Maryvale, Victoria.
What is deinked pulp or DIP? Recycled pulp is also called deinked pulp (DIP). DIP is made from recycled waste paper, which has been processed to remove printing inks, toner and other unwanted elements resulting in clean paper fibres. The process is called deinking. DIP is used as the main raw material in recycled papermaking.
When will the recycling facility be operational? The facility is expected to be operational from mid 2014. In order to achieve economies of scale, Australian Paper will take the plant to full production as quickly as possible. Demand for recycled paper will greatly assist in this process.
Why does Australia need a paper recycling facility? The Amcor Fairfield Paper Mill in Melbourne ceased production in 2012. This resulted in the closure of the only premium recycled DIP facility in Australia, ending Australian production of quality deinked pulp for local recycled paper.
Consequently recycled pulp and office and printing paper has had to be imported from overseas and Australia's waste office paper has been either sent to landfill or overseas for processing into low grade materials like cardboard. These rather negative outcomes meant that Australia was not directly benefitting from the paper waste it created and that potentially the placing of paper into landfill could lead to the generation of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Australian Paper is actually recycling the Amcor recycling plant and rebuilding it from the ground up at Maryvale, including significant upgrades for even better quality. This is a great outcome for the local environment.
What impact will the recycling facility have on Australian office paper? This facility will take in up to 80,000 tonnes of waste paper, resulting in an output of 50,000 tonnes of recycled fibre which is equivalent to 16 billion sheets of A4 paper. This will be a three-fold increase in the usage of quality-deinked pulp at Maryvale and a significant opportunity to increase the supply of recycled office and printing paper to the Australian market.
How many tonnes of recycled paper are being created? 50,000 tonnes of recycled fibre will be created from the new process; it is planned to be used across the majority of Australian Paper's office, envelope, publishing and printing papers. Planet Ark's role is to ensure the uptake of high content recycled paper.
If the new plant isn't open yet, where is the recycled paper coming from? While the recycling plant is under construction Australian Paper is sourcing its recycled pulp from a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified source in the USA. This recycled fibre is then being manufactured into premium office and printing paper in Australia.
Once the plant is open where will the additional recycled paper be collected from? The paper will be collected primarily from Victoria, NSW, ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.
Where does the virgin paper come from now? In total, 65% of paper fibre is from certified plantations and recycled sources. The remaining 35% is certified wood harvested by the Victorian Government through VicForests. Currently, around half of the wood harvested by VicForests in the Central Highlands is high grade for sawn timber and around half is low grade, suitable for value added papermaking. If Australian Paper did not take this wood, it would be left on site to be burnt as part of the regeneration process, or chipped and exported to be made into paper overseas.
VicForests operations are certified to the Australian Forestry Standard as being sustainably managed and all harvested areas are fully regenerated using local seed. This enables the same mix of species to be regrown on the site.
Almost three quarters of the Ash forests in Victoria's Central Highlands are in reserves or are unavailable or unsuitable for timber harvesting.
Old growth Ash trees are also fully protected by Victorian law in the Central Highlands. Australian Paper does not accept old growth wood into any of their operations.
What impact will the production process of the recycled paper at the new recycling plant have on the environment? As part of Australian Paper's Maryvale Mill, the recycling plant will be subject to strict EPA requirements.