US-based independent paper firm North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC) is expanding its facility in Longview, Washington, to produce 100% recycled packaging paper.

Produced by converting waste material, the new recycled papers will be used for boxes, displays, bags and a range of packaging products.

The company expects the expansion to address the environmental challenge of sending waste material to landfills instead of recycling it.

The conversion operation will support about 400 direct jobs at the Longview facility, as well as some indirect jobs at Cowlitz County.

NORPAC CEO Craig Anneberg said: “Today, our state faces an unprecedented environmental challenge from waste papers, because of China’s new, more stringent restrictions on unsorted and high-reject content waste papers.

“By increasing our ability to produce 100% recycled packaging papers, our company will be able to help solve this challenge, transforming waste papers into much-needed packaging grade papers for local and export markets.

“We anticipate converting one-third of NORPAC’s production to packaging grades while solidifying NORPAC’s future as a successful independent producer of packaging and communication papers, including super-bright and book papers, copy paper, and newsprint.”

In addition, NORPAC has committed to assist the state by converting more than 400,000 metric tonnes of recovered waste paper into 100% recycled packaging grade paper annually.

The company aims to produce various types of paper such as liner board, corrugating medium, heavy and light-weight bag grades, as well as speciality Kraft papers.

NORPAC also expects to use the same amount of all available waste and mixed paper grades recovered in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.