Since 1974, the von Drehle Corporation has been practicing environmentally sound production methods that continue to ensure that the majority of our products are 100% recycled - meeting or exceeding EPA guidelines for post consumer content. Having modern, efficient facilities and equipment allow von Drehle to produce high quality paper products consistently - and most importantly - responsibly.
The von Drehle Corporation is committed to producing environmentally responsible paper products by utilizing recycled fiber and manufacturing processes that minimize waste, pollution, and conserve our natural resources.
Our Environmental Statement is just a very small part of the story. Discover how von Drehle’s innovative and proven methods lead the industry in total environmental responsibility and conservation...
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.
von Drehle’s Converting Facilities -
Maiden, NC, Memphis, TN, Las Vegas, NV, Natchez, MS
Our 100% recycled parent rolls are received at our converting facilities and converted into quality towel and tissue products – all of which are, of course, made from 100% recycled paper fibers. These facilities are as large as 210,000 square feet, requiring state-of-the-art machinery and qualified, dedicated, experienced technicians to ensure the quality of our products.
Energy audits have been conducted by engineering experts who reviewed our lighting systems – both inside and out. By upgrading our lighting systems to more energy-efficient and/or motion-activated systems, we have reduced our lighting energy consumption by well over $100,000 per year.
Significant energy savings have also been realized by examining our air compressor systems. By determining the minimum air pressure needed, we were able to either reduce run time or shut down unnecessary compressors – also saving filters, oil, and maintenance. We are currently exploring ways to capture the exhaust heat from the compressors to use for heating the building in the winter months. To reduce heat loss in the winter, we have also enclosed our loading docks.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
All of our end cuts or “cookies” are collected and recycled. von Drehle tracks the waste percentage monthly in each facility and we are consistently below industry averages. Parent roll cores are collected and returned to the mill to be used again. von Drehle uses recycled pallets and send any damaged pallets to be repaired and reused.
All of the waste from our core machines are baled for recycling. It was also determined that by reducing the web width of the core stock rolls, we gained “wall strength”. This enabled us to go from a 4-ply core to a 3-ply core – reducing our consumption by 25%.
Local waste disposal companies were called in and given samples of materials that were still being sent to the landfill. It was determined that the majority of these materials could also be recycled. Balers were installed to compact the recycled materials. By recycling, we were able to turn an expense into a profit center, and, at the same time, we created a significant positive impact on the environment. Plastics, metals, and other scrap or waste items are now recycled instead of discarded.
Unlike most other paper manufacturers, von Drehle employees are also part owners of the corporation. In the fall of 2007, the von Drehle Corporation established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that gave a significant share of the company to the employees. This enables the employee/owner to share in the success of the company as well as benefit from their efforts to reduce waste.
We’ve learned that reducing waste is not merely good stewardship of our environment – it makes good business sense. We not only have a significant positive impact on the environment and our natural resources, but we are able to lower our manufacturing costs. This enables us to lower our costs to our valued customers. In the end, everyone benefits.