Project Smoky One of the Largest, Statistically Safest in Company’s History
KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Domtar executives and employees joined state and local dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the Kingsport Mill’s conversion into the company’s first 100 percent recycled containerboard facility.
Known as Project Smoky, the two-year project transformed the mill’s uncoated freesheet paper machine into the second-largest 100 percent recycled containerboard machine in North America. It can produce approximately 600,000 tons of high-quality recycled linerboard and corrugated medium annually.
In 2020, Domtar announced plans to repurpose the facility to enter the containerboard market. The mill resumed operation in January 2023 and is now the largest recycled manufacturer in the state of Tennessee.
“The Kingsport Mill is blazing a trail as Domtar’s first 100 percent recycled containerboard facility,” said Steve Henry, Domtar executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We’re building on our 175-year legacy as a fiber innovator by entering the packaging business. It’s a large and growing market, and we’re very excited by the customer response we’ve received.”
One of the largest and statistically safest capital investments in the company’s 175-year history, the project featured 40 different contract companies and more than 1,000 individual contractor employees onsite. In December 2022, the construction team achieved 2.5 million hours without a lost-time incident, surpassing the million-hour mark that was achieved in July.
“We made sure each contractor understood that no job was worth being injured, and that we wanted each person to go home to their family without incident each day,” said Charlie Floyd, vice president of strategic capital projects for Domtar’s packaging business.
The revitalized Kingsport Mill showcases cutting-edge technology and innovative processes that will enhance Domtar’s ability to meet the growing demand within the industry. The conversion project aligns strategically with the company’s long-term vision to build a large and competitive packaging business, as well as its commitment to sustainability.
In addition to Domtar representatives and local officials, Wednesday’s ceremony included remarks from Stuart McWhorter, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
“The work to convert this mill would not have been possible without our community’s support and collaboration,” Kingsport Mill Manager Troy Wilson said. “We are extremely proud of our long and successful partnership, which will continue many years into the future thanks to this project.”
Click here to view a video about the project.