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WATCH: Construction waste put to work at New West plant

Kruger Products sustainability strategy aims to reduce company’s environmental footprint

Mark Evans has seen many changes during his time with Scott Paper/Kruger Products – with environmental initiatives being at the top of the list.

Evans, general manager of the New West plant, says Kruger Products has become “way more focused” on energy reduction, environment, water usage and fibre sources during his 32 years with the company. He said the company gets its fibre from producers who ensure all of the wood is collected sustainably, is regenerated and isn’t coming from old-growth forests.

“In my career it’s gone from ‘that’s important’ to ‘that’s critical – we have to do well,’” Evans says. “We see that throughout the organization.”

In 2021, Kruger launched its third sustainable development strategy, Reimagine 2030, a 10-year strategy that includes targets to further reduce its environmental footprint.

According to Evans, the Kruger mill in New West is subject to a wide variety of federal, provincial and regional regulations related to land, air and water. He said more than 95 per cent of steam used in the production process is generated by wood waste, which is considered carbon neutral.

“So, that’s a huge deal,” he says.

Installed in 2009, the Nexterra biomass gasification system converts locally sourced wood residue into a clean burning “syngas” that’s fired into a boiler in place of natural gas. It’s reducing the plant’s use of natural gas by 445,000GJ per year and CO2 emissions by 22,000 tonnes per year.

“This process is lowering the facility’s GHG emissions by 50 per cent annually which is equivalent to removing 5,500 cars from roads or planting three million trees,” said a company statement.

According to Kruger, the biomass gasification system is the first of its kind in Canada – and in the entire pulp and paper industry. It uses locally sourced wood waste, thereby diverting it from landfills, and heats it into syngas, which replaces natural gas.

Kruger has won a number of awards for its initiatives, including the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation Leadership Award in the area of Process Technology and Improvements (2011), the British Columbia Technology Industry Association award for Best Application of Technology – to Nexterra Systems Corporation (2010);  and the Canadian Institute of Energy’s (B.C.) Applied Energy Innovation Award (2010). In 2010, it was also a finalist for Pulp and Paper International’s Green Energy and Biofuels Award, as well as the Platts Global Energy Award’s Green Energy Efficiency of the Year Award.