rcr paper france
The RCR mill in Raon-l’Étape, France, produces packaging grades using pre-consumer carton scrap as part of its feedstock.
Photo courtesy of CVB Ecologistics BV.

CVB Ecologistics spins off French paper mill

Packaging paper mill RCR has been purchased by CVB executive Richard Getkate.

June 29, 2021

Tilburg, Netherlands-based CVB Ecologistics BV is selling its Raon Circular Regeneration (RCR) bleached and unbleached packaging paper mill in France to Richard Getkate, the company’s commercial director.

“After getting our paper mill in Raon L’étape, France, back up and running over the past three years, it has been decided to divest this activity, which is not part of our recycling core business,” the company states in a late June blog post on its website.

CVB says in its search for acquisition candidates, Getkate, who has been operating the plant since 2018, “expressed an interest in purchasing the paper mill.” Continues CVB in its statement, “After ample discussions, we have reached an agreement in which Richard will take over all shares in RCR as of July 1.”

CVB and Getkate have agreed that CVB will “retain exclusivity for the deliveries of the required recovered paper until at least 2022, and furthermore Richard will remain associated with CVB Ecologistics until the end of 2021 to transfer his [non-RCR-mill-related] tasks [to] fellow employees.”

The statement from CVB Ecologistics indicates its cooperation with Getkate and the RCR mill is likely “to perpetuate and expand” beyond the timelines defined in the written agreement.

The RCR mill has a stock preparation system that allows it to consume up to 60 percent pre-consumer milk cartons (PCMC), Getkate tells Recycling Today. “We only consume cartons with a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) layer, no aluminum,” he adds.

The RCR mill receives white fiber box material from Stora Enso and brown box material from Billrud Korsnas, with both companies using virgin fibers from Scandinavia. “Hence, our quality and paper characteristics come very close to the specs of pulp-based papers from our competitors,” says Getkate.

“After the pulp process, the pulp runs on the machine and the LDPE film is then washed, shredded and granulated,” he adds.

Getkate says he has pursued the opportunity to own the mill because it is “one of the few, if not the only one, that is capable of producing very thin grammages” of such recycled-content board. Cartonboard in the 17-to-25 grams per square meter (gsm) range “is hardly produced in Europe” with recycled-content, says Getkate.

Adds Getkate, “There is a strong trend going on in the food sector that plastic packaging is banned, and paper packaging is hot. So, there is growth in this sector.”

Sustainability trends also mean “we see a strong shift from pulp-based demand to recycled demand,” Getkate comments. “The market is asking for greener, circular solutions, and that’s where we have a strong point.”

There is room to expand the RCR mill if the trends move in the direction anticipated by Getkate. “The plan is to install a tissue machine for consumer tissue, but also away from home tissue. There is still growth in tissue consumption, and the EU is still a net importing market for tissue. This tissue machine would be based on recovered paper as well, not pulp,” says Getkate.