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Business and Economy

With demand for materials surging, the Old Town paper mill asks for cardboard donations from locals

Old Town Mill 2.jpg
Courtesy of ND Paper
For about a month, mill owner ND Paper has asked for corrugated cardboard, food packaging, pizza boxes, and other materials from residents of four surrounding communities: Old Town, Orono, Milford and Bradley. The company is using the donations to create recycled pulp, which is then sent out to other manufacturers to create cardboard products.

The Old Town paper mill is asking local residents to drop off pizza boxes and cardboard as it deals with a surge in demand for materials.

For about a month, mill owner ND Paper has asked for corrugated cardboard, food packaging, pizza boxes, and other materials from residents of four surrounding communities: Old Town, Orono, Milford and Bradley. The company is using the donations to create recycled pulp, which is then sent out to other manufacturers to create cardboard products.

Old Town Mill 1.png
Courtesy of ND Paper
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Courtesy of ND Paper
The machine used to create recycled pulp.

One idea behind the program, says ND Paper spokesperson Brennan Burks, is sustainability: to help local residents recycle their cardboard products, instead of seeing them end up in landfills.

"So we want to reduce the amount of cardboard that goes into landfills, for a sustainability practice of leaving the planet better than we found it," Burks said. "But also, we can use that material to create recycled pulp, which we then send out to the global marketplace, to be created into other packaging products."

And Burks said that finding a potential new source of materials is important for the mill, as the growth of online shopping has led to skyrocketing demand for cardboard products, increasing material prices.

"So the desire and demand for product, and cardboard product, and packaging products, is only anticipated to keep growing over the next several years," he said.

Burks says box shipments in North America were up nearly 10% in the fall of 2020 compared to the year before.

The program is currently only open to residents of the four surrounding towns, but the company hopes to eventually expand. Residents can drop off cardboard in a bin close to the mill, at Portland Street in Old Town.