Resolute Forest Products of Montreal has added two more superbrite grades, Hybrid and Alternative, to its lines of environmentally progressive papers, which also includes Ecopaque, Equal Offset and Resolute Max.
“We now offer five different eco-friendly grades in multiple configurations under our Align brand,” stated John Lafave, Resolute’s Senior VP of Pulp and Paper Sales and Marketing. “Customers have even more choice of paper grades that reduce fiber consumption and save money without sacrificing the quality of their printed product.”
Specific grades being added to the Align umbrella include Hybrid Smooth, Hybrid Vellum, Hybrid Envelope, Alternative Book, Alternative Offset and Alternative Opaque, which are produced at the company’s Calhoun mill in Tennessee. The new additions also include Alternative Offset and Alternative Book produced at the Alma mill in Quebec.
Align's Hybrid grades are described by the company as high-yield, opaque offset papers used for commercial printing, such as comics, direct mail, directories, envelopes, inserts and manuals. Align's Alternative Offset papers are suited for print applications like book publishing, financial printing, annual reports and direct mail.
Resolute states that its Align papers are made with up to 50 percent less wood fiber compared to free-sheet paper, and have an environmental footprint 35 percent to 85 percent smaller than the average free-sheet grade, including some containing recycled content. In 2013, Resolute also switched the Calhoun mill's energy source from coal to natural gas.
The thermo-mechanical pulping process used to produce the Align paper lines applies heat and mechanical grinding to wood fibers, which, according to Resolute, results in 90 percent of the wood fiber being used. The company states this process is vastly more efficient than the traditional chemical pulping process employed to make free-sheet from kraft pulp. In the chemical pulping process, the lignin, which Resolute describes as the organic glue that holds the wood fibers together, is removed, and only about half of the original wood fiber is used.
The Align brand's thermo-mechanical process keeps the lignin in the sheet, along with the cellulose and hemicellulose, explains Resolute, which provides the mechanical pulp with higher opacity and greater bulk. The lignin's presence also allows Align papers to be produced with only half the amount of wood fiber needed to make traditional free-sheet.
Resolute Forest Products owns or operates over 40 pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, and power generation assets in Canada. Marketing its products in close to 90 countries, Resolute has third-party certified 100 percent of its managed woodlands to at least one of three internationally recognized sustainable forest management standards.