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Principles in Practice

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© 2001
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

April 2001





All Weather Intermediate Cover

Smurfit-Stone recently applied for a minor modification to the West Point, Virginia, mill's industrial landfill permit, which would allow the use of an alternate material for the intermediate cover of the landfill. That cover is specified as 12 inches of soil to be applied whenever an additional lift of waste is not applied within 30 days. Experimenting with the various materials, we determined that a mixture of ash from the wood-waste boiler and gravel would serve the same need as the soil we had previously purchased; use some of the ash material being landfilled, thereby increasing available landfill space; and, most important, provide an all-weather, drivable surface.

The approval process included a six-month demonstration period through the wet portion of the year. Three inspections were done by Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) while the demonstration was going on. Each visit met with the full approval of the inspectors and the request is being approved.

The landfill, which is five miles northeast of the West Point mill, had been owned by St. Laurent Paperboard Inc., now a part of Smurfit-Stone. Storm-water run off is collected in the landfill is pumped to the West Point mill for treatment in its wastewater treatment plant.

Copper Range Company

The Ontonagon, Michigan, mill, in partnership with the Copper Range Company (CRC) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, has completed one of the most environmentally beneficial projects in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When CRC ceased underground copper mining operations in 1995, it left 5,500 acres of above-ground tailings basins that contained finely crushed inorganic rock and fly ash. The basins were drained of water in late 1998, leaving the tailings to become a dust issue for local residents.

In late 1998, Ontonagon mill initiated an innovative project intended to utilize the mill's wastewater treatment plant residual as organic fertilizer. With the success of the trial, CRC began accepting the mill's residuals for full-scaled application in Spring 1999. By utilizing the mill's byproduct as a high-quality fertilizer for the mine tailings, rather than sending it to the landfill, CRC has been able to revegetate approximately 700 acres of the driest areas of the tailings basins. Since the inception of this project, the mill has reduced its landfill operating costs by $901,000, extended the life of its industrial landfill by at least two years, and helped Copper Range solve the dust issue with their neighbors.

Principle in Practice:
To recognize the environmental effects of all of our products and processes

Responsible Products

Products made from paper not only make our lives easier and more productive, they are environmentally sound. Paper and paper-based packaging are made from an entirely natural and renewable resource. It is frequently reusable, among the most recycled products in the world, and safely and quickly degradable under natural conditions.

Smurfit-Stone is the world's largest producer and recycler of paper-based packaging. As such, our goal is to develop products that meet and exceed our customer's expectations but that are environmentally responsible as well. Our boxes and bags now contain, on average, approximately 35 percent recycled fiber, while still offering the strength and quality our customers' products require.

In addition to adding recycled content to existing products, we are putting considerable effort into source reduction. Innovative packaging made from high-performance containerboard furnishes greater stacking strength to our containers, while actually requiring less fiber. For example, we have developed a number of innovative and cost-effective designs for our pizza customers, including a design for one customer that uses up to 15 percent less material than conventional boxes.

Another approach to responsible packaging is our complete line of recycled and recyclable, corrugated, inner-packing products that give customers an alternative to plastic, foam, and wood inserts. Smurfit-Stone's goals are to manufacture the most environmentally responsible board and packaging possible and to ensure that our products are fed smoothly back into the supply side of the recycling loop. Our technical experts and designers are working on dozens of new projects, as well as using computer-assisted design and other technologies to re-engineer our products.

Product Certification Program

In addition to the manufacturing process, Smurfit-Stone's products themselves provide a safe, environmentally friendly packaging option for their customers. We must address issues raised by consumers or regulators as varied as the safety of food packaged in the product to the source of fiber used in production. The Product Certification Program makes it possible for SSCC to furnish products that meet the regulatory and consumer requirements for a multitude of uses, are safe for consumers, and have minimal environmental impact.

Facilities follow comprehensive procedures, including vendor certification and raw-material screening, to prevent introduction of unwanted compounds. As a final check on our procedures, Smurfit-Stone regularly tests our products for more than 150 individual chemicals, as well as for harmful bacteria.


Cordeck™ is a strong, lightweight, corrugated pallet designed to replace traditional wooden shipping pallets. Originally developed for the Grocery Manufacturers' Association as a replacement for wood pallets, Cordeck™ pallets are 100 percent recyclable and are composed of a high degree of recycled material. They are constructed with solid top and bottom decks, which help distribute the weight out evenly over the load for stacking and significantly prevent product damage. Designed with true four-way entry, Cordeck™ pallets allow for easy assess by forklift and hand jack.

Smurfit-Stone is one of the largest corrugated pallet manufacturers in he country, custom engineering each pallet for its specific use. The U.S. ban on unfumigated wood pallets from Asia has enhanced Cordeck™'s appeal abroad for shipments destined for the U.S. We are now manufacturing corrugated pallets in three locations in China.

Paper Lawn Bags

Smurfit-Stone's branded product, Yard Master Paper Lawn and Leaf Bag™ is a 30-gallon bag made of two-ply, 50-pound, kraft paper and sold in retail stores. Along with the leaves, grass, and twigs the Yard Master holds, the bag itself decomposes in a compost operation. Currently, the market for lawn bags is 90 million bags and SSCC is the largest supplier. Presently, 26 states ban disposable yard and garden waste in landfills and many states, counties, and municipalities are now making the use of lawn and leaf bags compulsory.

Reusable Shipping Bulk Bags

Smurfit-Stone is an exclusive sales and marketing selling agent for reusable, woven, and polypropylene shipping bulk bags produced by Marino Technologies. These big bulk bags hold anywhere from 500-5,000 pounds of non-hazardous, non-regulated dry flowable products. They are used several times and, after each use, returned, cleaned, recertified as usable, and sent back to our original customer. We recommend that the bags be used for the same product each time to prevent cross contamination.

The bags are cleaned by Marino Technologies, using a patented process comprising high-pressure air and vacuums, as opposed to wet processes, so as not to affect ground water. Leftover residue is shipped back to the product's manufacturer in a bulk bag. At the end of their useful life, bags can be ground up and used as a raw material for other products or burned for fuel.

Returnable Corrugated Containers

In response to our customers' desire to become more environmentally friendly, SSCC developed returnable corrugated containers (RCCs) that eliminate many of the disadvantages of returnable plastic containers (RPCs). A returnable corrugated container is a box with a bellows feature that allows it to be flat folded for shipping and collapsed after use for as many as six deliveries, resulting in source reduction. In many cases, a corrugated shipping container can deliver most, if not all, of the advantages RPCs claim. One of the major benefits of corrugated containers is that they are easily recycled within an infrastructure that already exists.

Smurfit-Stone has been working with the Fiber Box Association to develop a standardized footprint-shipping container for produce. We believe this container will have significant applications in manufacturing, industrial, and assembly markets for customers who would like to make their own returnable corrugated containers to replace plastic.

Environmentally Friendly Inks

Smurfit-Stone continually evaluates the components of the printing inks used in our converting facilities in light of their potential to impact the environment, federal, state, and local regulations, as well as our Product Certification Program. Customer requirements may also dictate end-product specifications for the types of inks that can be used in our processes.

Printing inks may contain heavy metals and solvents that are regulated under numerous environmental programs, including those related to air emissions, waste management, and wastewater discharges. By continually working with our suppliers and making technological changes that allow for substitution of ink blends that reduce the amount of heavy metals and solvent constituents going in to the process, SSCC has been able to ultimately reduce the emissions that result from our printing operations.

Solid Waste Disposal

As a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Waste Wise Program, Smurfit-Stone is committed to finding innovative solutions to solid waste. Twice, SSCC has been recognized by the EPA for developing one of the nation's top solid-waste reduction programs. The primary focus of our efforts has been in the areas of waste reduction and reduced adhesive use in corrugated container manufacturing and in decreasing the volume of material sent to landfills from all of our facilities. Since joining EPA's program in 1994, manufacturing waste and adhesive use has been reduced by more than 5,000 tons and material sent to landfills has declined by more than 70,000 tons.

Waste Reduction Services

Smurfit-Stone Waste Reduction Services (SWRS) is a full-service waste, cost-containment, and recycling management service that works mostly in the retail and manufacturing industries across the country. SWRS provides the following services to our customers:

  • complete, daily management of the waste stream for more than 6,000 customer locations nationwide
  • strategic alliances with a network of qualified waste-hauling vendors to provide comprehensive waste reduction and waste disposal management services
  • negotiation of the lowest rates, audit hauling, and disposal invoices
  • assessment of waste disposal sites for compliance and licensing requirements
  • tracking of legislative issues
  • payment of hauler invoices and
  • consolidated monthly invoices and location-by-location reports.<

Because SWRS is a division of one of the largest users of post-consumer, recycled, corrugated containers, it is uniquely qualified to provide a single-source service for all of our customers' waste and recycling needs. Diversion of material away from the nation's rapidly filling disposal sites and into quality recycling programs is a goal we share with our customers. SWRS saves several hundred thousand tons from landfill annually.

Next - To monitor and report regularly on environmental performance