Hartsville Sonoco plant under goes multi-million dollar upgrade - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Hartsville Sonoco plant under goes multi-million dollar upgrade

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HARTSVILLE, SC (WIS) -

Where do you toss that day old newspaper, your plastic milk jug, or the glass jar of jelly?

The materials you and other recyclers in the Midlands put in your bins at the curb come to the Sonoco Plant in Richland County. Packer trucks bring in the collected goods and dump them in a huge pile.

The plant recently underwent a multi-million dollar upgrade allowing for more products to be recycled.

On a daily basis, the plant will sort through aluminum, steel, plastics, glass, paper, and cardboard.  The goods are then distributed to other plants throughout the nation and world to be made into new products. All the paper products are sent to a Sonoco plant in Hartsville in Darlington County -- a plant that never sleeps.

More than 2 million pounds of paper every day are brought in and filtered: newspapers, magazines, old corrugated containers, paper products and the plant's own scrap are all made into new product.

"One hundred and ten pounds of incoming material will produce 100 pounds of finished goods," said Steve Glenn, a worker at the plant. "About 10 percent yield waste."

The Sonoco plant has such a demand for the product it produces, it also accepts paper from North Carolina and Georgia.

The paper recycling process begins where the products you're finished using become paper pulp and made into new products.

The baled materials are driven in. The wires binding the bails are cut. The materials are loaded onto a conveyor and into a hydropauper.

Even the water used in the process is recycled. Inside, the products are "beaten", so to speak, back into pulp. It's cleaned and refined and given new life.

"We produce what we call brown and round which is a high strength, multi-plied paperboard which is converted into spiral and convolute-would tubes and cords," said Glenn.

The final product is 12,000 pounds of paper that is cut into narrow rolls for whatever the customer needs. Behind the massive roll, you can see a new one being started, coming down the drum.

The tubes are colored coded to identify which ones go to which company. They're then boxed and shipped throughout the nation and even the world. All because you did not throw away that box, newspaper or paper container, but put it in the recycle bin.

The recycling effort extends to Sonoco's on-site operation. The Hartsville plant is undergoing a massive green project. Its biomass boiler project, which is currently underway, will burn a cleaner, renewable fuel, protecting the environment more.

"We're building a boiler that is going to consume upwards of 400 thousand tons of wood residue on an annual basis to provide steam and electricity for our recycled paper mill operations here," said Glenn.

The new, improved system will be up and running in less than a year, taking the plant that's been in operation since 1899 into a cleaner future of reusing and recreating.

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