ESPANOLA—With a deadline of 2021 looming for single-use plastics, the innovators at Domtar in Espanola have a plan to create a tough paper alternative for products as diverse as muffin cups and surgical equipment wrappers through its Stealth Fiber Technology—all while improving air and water quality and protecting jobs.

To assist with those goals, the Canadian government is ponying up $28.8 million to help with the $57.5 million project, according to a government release. “Environmental leadership and economic growth must go hand in hand,” notes the release. “That is why the Government of Canada is investing in innovation and sustainability in our forestry sector—to help secure good middle-class jobs and protect our environment for future generations.”

Marc Serré, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Rural Economic Development, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the $28.8 million investment in Domtar on July 23.

“Canada’s forest industry supports thousands of well-paying jobs in Northern Ontario,” said Mr. Serré in the release. “Our government is proud to invest in innovations at Domtar that will increase the Espanola Mill’s competitiveness in the global market, reduce waste from production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win project for this community.”

“By investing in innovation and sustainability in our forestry sector, we’re helping secure hundreds of good middle-class jobs and ensure the long-term competitiveness of Canadian pulp and paper production,” said Minister Bains. “Through this investment, Domtar will be able to commercialize innovative products that could help reduce our use of single-use plastics, while reducing its environmental impact.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Government of Canada on this important initiative to upgrade the Espanola Mill’s infrastructure and improve its environmental performance,” said Michael D. Garcia, president of Domtar’s pulp and paper division. “This investment will help the mill deliver technical innovation to produce products that could help reduce the use of single-use plastics.”

Domtar is a leading North American fibre innovator and pulp and paper production company and the investment will support Domtar’s $57.5 million project to implement new equipment and processes at its pulp and specialty paper mill in Espanola.

According to the release, Domtar’s project will involve commercializing its new Stealth Fiber Technology, which will produce stronger paper and allow for the production of innovative products that could replace single-use plastics when it comes to, for example, medical packaging and food wrap. These innovations will increase Domtar’s competitiveness in the global market, reduce waste from production, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48,000 tonnes annually at the Espanola Mill—the equivalent of removing 16,000 cars from our roads.

Thanks in part to this investment, Domtar will maintain 430 jobs. The company will invest more in research and development and will develop a diversity and gender equity plan to engage with women and Indigenous communities. Additionally, upgrades to the Espanola Mill will improve air quality and reduce noise pollution for the people living in and around Espanola.