Diversified packaging company Sonoco has announced plans to upgrade its corrugated medium machine in Hartsville, South Carolina, US, with an investment of $83m.

The move to transform the machine into a new recycled paperboard machine with a production capacity of 180,000t a year is aimed at further bolstering the company’s recycled paperboard mill system.

With this investment, Sonoco is expected to become of the largest and lowest-cost producers of recycled paperboard in the world.

The transformation will be carried out as part of Project Horizon and will reduce electricity consumption in the company’s US and Canada paper mill system by 16%.

Sonoco will also be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16%, while its total water usage by mills will decrease by 25%.

Sonoco president and CEO Howard Coker said: “We are calling this investment Project Horizon because it ensures the long-term viability of our Hartsville paper mill complex and places our US and Canada recycled paperboard mill system into the top quartile of performance from a cost perspective.

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“More than 80% of our consumer packaging sales are linked to food products, and we are being called on to meet an increased demand for consumers who are staying close to home. I’m extremely proud of how our associates have rallied to our customers’ calls for help during this crisis.”

In 2018, Sonoco announced commitments for sustainable use and increased recyclability of packaging by 2025.

In April, the company’s board of directors gave the approval to enhance its uncoated recycled paperboard (URB) mill system in the US and Canada.