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Tranlin plans to manufacture paper from ag waste
By JONATHAN CRIBBS
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (Nov. 3, 2015) — Regional farmers might see a boost to their bottom lines soon after a Chinese pulp and paper company building a $2 billion manufacturing plant in Chesterfield County said it plans to buy roughly $50 million in field waste from farmers each year.
The company, Tranlin Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Shangdong Tranlin Paper Co. Ltd., is already looking at sources for its field waste, such as wheat straw and corn stalks, said Julie Rautio, company spokesperson.
The company broke ground late last month on the plant, which will produce paper tissue products made exclusively from agricultural field waste. It will also make humus-based organic fertilizer.
It’s too soon to say exactly where the company plans to buy waste from, Rautio said, though the availability of waste material was a factor in the company’s decision to settle in Virginia.
“It’s from farmers large and small. It’s a big undertaking,” Rautio said. “One of the appealing factors about Virginia and the immediate surrounding states was the availability of materials. They would not have been well-suited to do this in the highly urbanized northwest corridor or something.”
The organic fertilizer is made using residues from the papermaking process, according to a company statement.
Paper items made from agricultural byproduct — not trees — will include bath, kitchen facial and travel tissue as well as tableware, all of it chlorine-free and compostable.
The company refers to its manufacturing process as the “Golden Circle” because it creates an environmentally sustainable loop, the company said. Tranlin uses the field waste to make its paper products, the fertilizer is made from the paper production and the fertilizer is sold back to the farmer who uses it to grow more crops.
That fertilizer often allows farmers to use less water, chemical fertilizer and pesticides than traditional fertilizers, the company said.
The fertilizer has a high concentration of fulvic acid, which it said is suitable for commercial farmers and home gardeners looking for organic ways to boost crop yield and quality and improve soil restoration and the environment.
The plant was a major coup for Gov. Terry McAuliffe as it’s expected to create more than 2,000 jobs in the state by 2020.
China’s biggest meat processor, Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., announced about a year ago it would purchase Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. It was the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company.
The Tranlin plant site is an 850-acre field along the James River.