By George Jones
Seaman Paper Company President & CEO
At Seaman Paper Company, sustainability is part of every decision we make, every process we execute, every product, every person, and every customer we serve.
We tell our sustainability story through our Soft Steps Forward Initiative. It is the story of how we manufacture high quality products while leaving only a positive effect on the environment, our customers and our community.
We realize the need to be globally competitive with regard to all costs, including energy. The energy conservation portion of our Soft Steps Forward Initiative consists of many projects that contribute to continuous improvement.
We worked with Hurst Boiler to refine their design to meet more stringent air quality standards. Under normal operation, two of these boilers now produce 100 percent of our steam requirements. And 97 percent of that steam comes from carbon-neutral biomass.
We installed a backpressure turbine that uses process steam to generate electricity, which allowed us to reduce our purchased energy use by 13 percent. The turbine not only reduces our electric bills; it generates income from renewable energy credits and combined heat and power credits too. We also completed many electrical conservation projects.
While the costs of oil and electricity have risen over the past decade, these projects have enabled us to bring our total energy costs down.
The steps we’ve taken to control our energy costs are not new to the paper industry. What is unique is putting together an economically feasible project for a mill of our size – there are few similar-sized, non-integrated mills that have made the same improvements. As conditions change, we are committed to continuing to make improvements on our original designs.
Being a leader in our industry brings with it the responsibility to not only do the best things for ourselves but to support our customers’ goals to do the right thing for their customers, the environment and the bottom line as well.
Seaman Paper Company received a 2015 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Reduction for their Soft Steps Forward Initiative.