mixed paper recycling
Mixed paper and OCC will be converted into pulp at the facility being built in Virginia.
Photo by Recycling Today staff

Total Fiber Recovery starts work on Virginia facility

Work has started on an $80 million recycled pulp production plant in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Chesapeake, Virginia-based Total Fiber Recovery of Chesapeake (TFRC) says it has started construction of its $80 million recycled pulp production facility in that city. TFRC describes it as the first of several such pulp facilities being planned by Total Fiber Recovery.

TFRC is a joint venture between Oregon-based Total Fiber Recovery (TFR) and Swedish company CellMark Inc. Material consumed by the facility will be supplied by CellMark’s Recycled Fiber Division, and the pulp produced will be marketed by CellMark’s Pulp Division. Bulk Handling Systems, an affiliate of Total Fiber Recovery, is furnishing equipment for the facility. Crowder Industrial Construction of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the lead contractor.

“Total Fiber Recovery’s innovative operation will produce in-demand recycled fiber that reduces our environmental footprint and positions Chesapeake as a major participant in this important sector,” says Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “This project helps demonstrate that clean air, clean water and a strong economy do not have to be mutually exclusive. We thank the company for investing in our commonwealth, creating new jobs and supporting Virginia’s conservation efforts.”

TFR plans to begin operations in Chesapeake in the fourth quarter of 2023 and annually process up to 300,000 tons of mixed paper and old corrugated containers (OCC) from the region’s material recovery facilities (MRFs).

The company will increase the region’s capacity to process recycled fiber and produce what TFR calls a clean recycled pulp for consumption in paper mills around the world. TFR says it has domestic and international offtake agreements in place for the pulp product made in Chesapeake.

The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority authorized the issuance of $65 million in Green Bonds for the facility. Those bonds were sold earlier this month to New York-based Alliance Bernstein. 

“We are excited that Total Fiber Recovery has chosen the city of Chesapeake for its first recycled pulp production facility due to the region’s workforce and global access through the Port of Virginia,” comments Chesapeake Mayor Dr. Richard “Rick” W. West. “The revenue from exporting TFR’s pulp product in addition to the creation of 68 new jobs will be a positive economic boost for the city of Chesapeake and the commonwealth."

“The paper industry demands recycled pulp to make new products, and North America is home to some of the world’s most advanced MRFs that produce high-quality recycled fiber,” states TFR CEO Steve Miller. “From consumers recycling at their homes to legislators and regulators developing creative waste management plans to the dedicated MRF operators sorting out materials, Americans have shown that we care about recycling. All that is missing here is the capacity to achieve our goals, and that is what TFR provides. We could not be more excited to be a part of the solution and to start here in Chesapeake, and we thank the local leadership for helping us realize our vision.”

Doug Smith, president of CellMark’s Pulp Division, says, “We are delighted with this exciting new opportunity to market this fast-growing pulp segment. The market is welcoming new entrants, and the Chesapeake project has all the critical elements for success: experienced partners, a plentiful recycled feedstock, a sophisticated cleaning process and excellent logistics.”