Paper Excellence has received $4.5 million for its Port Alberni mill. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Paper Excellence has received $4.5 million for its Port Alberni mill. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni’s paper mill gets $4.5M for transition to food packaging

Transition provides sustainable alternatives to single-use packaging

Port Alberni’s paper mill has received a $4.5 million grant to increase its production of food packaging papers.

Paper Excellence Canada announced on June 8, 2022 that it has received $4.5 million from the federal government’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program. This funding will be invested at Catalyst Port Alberni to expand the mill’s production capacity for food grade papers.

Traditionally, the mill produced printing and writing grades. However, demand for these products has been in steady decline.

Back in 2020, the mill began increasing its production of food grade papers in order to meet a growing market demand. The transition, says Paper Excellence, also provides sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic serving containers and advances B.C.’s circular economy.

The new grades will be produced using unique pulping capabilities developed at the Catalyst Port Alberni mill that net a higher yield in fiber use. As a result, the mill will be able to increase the amount of food packaging materials it produces but will use less residual wood fibre to do so.

The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation is a federal program that provides capital funding to support transformative projects by forest sector firms to diversify into new product streams and implement innovative process improvements to ensure industry competitiveness.

“This funding from IFIT will help Paper Excellence achieve our vision for modernizing our paper production on B.C.’s coast,” said Graham Kissack, vice president of environment, health and safety and corporate communications for Paper Excellence. “We are proud to be producing sustainable, value-added forest products that will meet the market demands of the future.”

PORT ALBERNI