Georgia-Pacific Success Story: Watered Down Energy Consumption
How Georgia-Pacific’s Brunswick Mill Slashed Water Usage by 43 Percent
Sustainability isn’t just a matter of recycling materials – it’s the result of comprehensive environmentally responsible practices and innovative technology at the site of production. With around 600 employees, Georgia-Pacific’s mill in Brunswick, Ga., is the world’s largest single-site producer of absorbent fluff pulp, a material used in disposable diapers and other hygiene products. With about 70 percent of its fluff pulp exported to Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia, the mill is a vital global supplier.
The mill uses water to help process yellow pine into pulp. Seeking to maintain its production levels, while reducing the mill’s water consumption, GP needed to find an innovative and sustainable solution.
Since 2005, GP has invested around $400 million in the Brunswick mill to install new process equipment. This investment has helped to reduce its water consumption. This state-of-the-art technology and equipment included:
- New cooling towers to recycle water
- Installation of a single-line bleach plant replacing three older bleach plants
GP’s Brunswick facility slashed its water consumption by over 43 percent, down to about 50% of the current permitted usage. In addition, the mill completely eliminated the use of surface water from the adjacent Turtle River.
“It’s very significant what GP Cellulose has done to reduce its withdrawals. It’s a good thing for the environment,” said Gregory Cherry, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Georgia Water Science Center in Atlanta. By investing in the mill, GP also invested in the local community.