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19 February 2012

Interstate Container’s Columbia Plant

The container division of the Interstate Resources started production of Greencoat wax-replacement corrugated containers and boxes at its new plant in December 2011.
Greencoat wax-free corrugated box production plant started operations in December 2011. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.
Greencoat has strength of traditional waxed boxes and is 100% recyclable, repulpable and compostable. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.
Greencoat pacakging has been adopted by the US poultry firms Mountaire Farm and Allen Harim Foods. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.
Interstate Container's Columbia plant, in South Carolina, was established at an investment of $13m. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.
The new 183,000ft² packaging plant was opened in the former Smurfit Stone building. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.
The plant is expected to hire about 100 people within one year of operations. Image courtesy of Interstate Container / Interstate Resources.

The container division of the Interstate Resources started production of Greencoat wax-replacement corrugated containers and boxes for seafood, poultry, meat and fresh produce packaging at its new plant, in December 2011.

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The plant is located in Lexington County, South Carolina. It is owned and operated by Interstate Container Columbia, a subsidiary of Interstate Resources, part of the Indevco Group. The Intestate Container division operates eight production plants on the eastern coast of the US.

The Columbia plant is exclusively dedicated to the production of Greencoat paper for corrugated packaging boxes. It produces more than 700,000ft² of paper a year. The plant was set up with an investment of about $13m. The plant currently has 25 employees, which is expected to increase to 100 within one year of operations.

Contractors with roles in the Columbia plant

An existing 183,000ft² Smurfit Stone building was refurbished to house the Greencoat production plant. The former building was refitted to accommodate the packaging equipment.

Renovation of the building was started in April 2011 and was completed in September that year. Miller-Valentine Construction was the general contractor. Johnson and King Engineers was the consultant engineer.

Process and technology incoporated by Interstate Container

"The Columbia plant is exclusively dedicated to the production of Greencoat paper for corrugated packaging boxes."

The Columbia plant uses a proprietary processing technology developed by Interstate Resources in collaboration with Mountaire Farms, a poultry processing company. It uses traditional hot melt glue and has ease of machine gluing applications.

The Greencoat technology took about five years of research and development. Greencoat replaces the paraffin wax coated packages and is more economical than the cascaded and curtain coated wax boxes.

The patent-pending Greencoat boxes are coated with strong and durable wax alternative. They have been approved by the Fibre Box Association (FBA) and the USDA for food packaging.

Global Green USA, a non-for-profit environmental improvement organisation, awarded the Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) 1st Pioneer Award to the eco-friendly Greencoat packaging at the 11th Annual Sustainable Design Awards.

Greencoat wax alternative carton benefits

The paraffin wax-coated corrugated packages are not recyclable and go into landfills. They account for about 1.36 million tons of the landfill waste and release about 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) every year. Land-filling and disposal of the old corrugated containers (OCC) costs about $65 to$125 per ton.

"The plant is located in Lexington County, South Carolina. It is owned and operated by Interstate Container Columbia, a subsidiary of Interstate Resources, part of the Indevco Group."

The moisture-resistant Greencoat cartons are an alternative to the wax cartons and utilise only recyclable resources. Advantages of the new boxes include 100% compostability, recyclability and repulpability. They reduce the carbon footprint, production and landfill costs of disposing the waxed boxes.

Interstate Container is responsible for the production of Greencoat, from paper to coat. This reduces the overall cost of the manufacturing process. The packaging offers the same profits but at a sustainable footprint.

The Greencoat corrugated boxes can be used for packaging of several products such as meat, poultry, frozen, refrigerated, seafood, floral and fresh produces, landscaping and outdoor materials. The boxes are designed to withstand rough handling, durability and temperature changes, and allow long storage and transportation.

Greencoat has been, so far, adopted by two poultry firms in the US. The supply chain of Mountaire Farm is expected to have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, improved efficiency and cut GHG emissions by about 100,000t with the use of Greencoat.

Allen Harim Foods replaced its non-recyclable coated corrugated packaging with Greencoat packaging in January 2012.

Packaging production

The plant produces wax-alternative coated sheets, impregnated sheets, moisture-resistant corrugated sheets, corrugated bulk bins, die-cuts and regular slotted containers.

It offers special packaging services such as greencoat wax replacement coating, A and C Flutes, AC, CA, and CC doublewall packaging, three colour printing, reinforcing string, heavy mediums, wax impregnation, on-site and regional warehousing.

It also provides high volume die-cuts and RSC, bulk packaging, heavy-weight high performance packaging, e-Commerce and EDI packaging.

Interstate Container produces about 3.2 million boxes of Greencoat a month from two of its facilities – the Interstate Container Columbia and Interstate Container Cambridge in Maryland.

South Carolina Site choice

Lexington County was chosen for the facility due to its proximity to the markets and readily available skilful workforce. South Carolina is a strategic business-friendly location with access to the southeast and east-coast markets. The company is focusing on trying to tap the east Mississippi, Canadian and Caribbean markets.

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