Some people don’t consider paper and corrugated packaging much more than commodities, but most everyone deals with paper and packaging enough in their daily lives that anyone can easily recognize quality from what is not. KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. is committed to the quality side of the business, and remains dedicated to it, always striving to provide its customers with “innovation, quality and service.”
Based in Northbrook, Ill., KapStone was formed in 2005 by industry veterans who wanted to establish operating businesses in the paper, packaging, forest products and related industries. The company now is a leading North American producer of unbleached Kraft paper and corrugated packaging products with approximately 4,700 employees.
“KapStone’s paper mills produce a wide spectrum of kraft and recycled products ranging from containerboard, including liner and medium, to kraft papers, saturating kraft and folding carton board,” the company says. “The mill’s product portfolio contains several branded products including Kraftpak®, DuraSorb®, TEA-Kraft® and FibreShield®, as well as a focus on extensible kraft paper grades and on high-performance, lightweight linerboard. KapStone’s corrugated packaging business offers an array of fully equipped corrugator box plants, sheet plants and sheet feeders providing industrial and retail corrugated packaging solutions for any customer, regardless of size or demands.”
KapStone is the largest U.S. producer of kraft paper, and its product is made from virgin wood pulp fiber, recycled fiber or a combination of both. Serving a diverse customer base, the company offers standard grades for wrapping papers, as well as converting papers, bag papers and multiwall sack papers. It also produces specialty grades for a range of converters, such as laminators, coaters, insulation manufacturers, producers of agricultural products and food product packaging. The company notes it is the only U.S. manufacturer of semi-extensible and extensible high-performance sack kraft papers.
Much of KapStone’s leadership position in the industry stems from its dedication to not only meet its customers’ needs, but also provide them with innovative products. Over the years, KapStone has introduced many innovations to the industry, including:
- >KRAFTPACK – A low-density, uncoated and unbleached kraft paperboard grade, KRAFTPACK is designed to provide maximum strength, cleanliness and performance while using the least amount of fiber. KRAFTPACK’s strong pine fibers and rigorous manufacturing process results in a dependable product with a high strength-to-weight ratio.
- >DuraSorb – This is an unbleached saturating kraft grade that is made primarily for use as core paper in high-pressure, decorative laminate applications. DuraSorb offers strong performance and product consistency, and it is known for having high-speed phenolic resin impregnation and laminate processibility. KapStone notes it offers the widest range of basis weights in the industry.
- >FibreLok Medium – A water-resistant, 100 percent recyclable corrugating medium, FibreLok Medium is designed to be a competitive replacement for wax-impregnated mediums. It is a highly sized wet-strength grade that performs better than standard corrugated medium in high-humidity storage environments.
Innovation also is apparent in the company’s corrugated industrial packaging, which is the core of KapStone Container Corp.’s business. Combining its manufacturing processes, quality materials and proven experience, KapStone strives to deliver the best custom packaging and sheets for its customers.
“The key is versatility and innovation,” the company says. “Our principal emphasis has been on versatility, particularly the ability to evaluate ever-changing specifications and to move quickly to proactively provide innovative new solutions. We identify the solutions that provide our customers with the best way for them to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace through the use of innovative packaging engineering and pioneering collaboration with our widely acclaimed paper mills.”
Working throughout the United States, KapStone operates 12 full-line box plants, eight sheet plants, four paper mills and two sheet-feeder plants, as well as one lumber mill and two warehouses. At every site it operations, the company remains dedicated to the safety and health of its employees, who it considers as its most important core value.
“We will ensure that we have systems in place to identify and mitigate any hazard that may present itself in the workplace,” the company says. “We encourage employees to be responsible for their own safety as well as the safety of those working around them. It is an expectation that employees will exhibit safe behaviors in the workplace. We will promote safe behaviors through observations conducted by all members of the KapStone team.
“The KapStone Leadership Team is committed to ensuring that all resources required to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment are made available. The health and safety process includes clearly understood procedures, employee training, and a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems that are in place. KapStone follows the thought process that there is nothing we do that cannot be done safely.”
In demonstration of the company’s ongoing focus on safety, KapStone’s Longview Box Plant reached five years without a recordable incident last fall. The company notes that equals more than 930,000 safe hours during the past five years.
“To have the team reach this milestone in an industrial environment is exceptional and rarely attained,” says Tim Keneally, president of KapStone Container Corp. “Congratulations to everyone and thank you for the importance every employee places on understanding their surroundings and watching out for themselves and their fellow employees.”
KapStone also was recognized for its safety last year by the Fibre Box Association (FBA). The FBA produces an annual occupational injuries and illnesses report for the corrugated container industry, and plants are recognized for having stellar safety performance. The Perfect Plant Safety Award is presented to operations that have zero recordable incidents, and the Safety Excellence Award is presented to plants that achieve no lost workday incidents.
Last year, KapStone had seven plants qualify for the Perfect Plant Safety Award and 19 plants qualify for the Safety Excellence Award. “In comparing our company performance to the entire industry, we also show impressive results,” the company says. “The recordable incident rate and lost workday incident rate for the 650 submitting plants was 2.27 and .48, respectively. KapStone’s results were 1.85 and .21, respectively. This is truly an impressive performance. KapStone’s goal is to be an injury-free workplace.”
Recycling goods and purchasing recycled goods are at the height of consumer consciousness, and KapStone understands its customers are, as well. But that is just part of the reason why KapStone maintains a strong sustainability program. The company understands the importance of protecting resources, working with quality suppliers, responsibly operating its plants and using recycled goods when possible.
KapStone explains it remains committed to continually achieving certification to these internationally accepted standards of sustainable forestry:
- >The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standards;
- >The Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody
- >The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Chain of Custody;
- >The American Forest Foundation Group Tree Farm Program.
“KapStone is committed to appropriately sourcing wood and fiber from sustainably managed forests,” the company says. “It implements best efforts to avoid trading in wood and fiber that is: illegally harvested, harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights, harvested where global conservation priorities are threatened, harvested from areas of the world where significant deforestation is occurring in natural forests, and harvested from genetically modified tree seedlings.”
“KapStone employs scientifically, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable forestry practices to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” KapStone continues. “This is accomplished by promoting a land stewardship ethic that integrates reforestation, growing and harvesting of trees for useful products with the conservation of soil, air and water quality, biological diversity, wildlife and aquatic habitat, recreation and aesthetics.”
In an effort to promote the principles of sustainable forest management, KapStone is committed to:
- >Practicing sustainable forestry;
- >Employing responsible practices;
- >Promoting forest regeneration and productive capacity;
- >Protecting and maintaining long-term forest and soil productivity;
- >Protecting water resources;
- >Protecting special sites and biological diversity;
- >Complying with legal requirements; and
- >Continually improving forest practices.
The company notes that it is dedicated to complying with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including social, health and safety laws. “To help implement and achieve the above sustainable forestry standards, KapStone has developed and adopted appropriate programs, plans and procedures to guide its fiber procurement and product claims,” it says. “KapStone is also committed to annually review the effectiveness of its sustainable forestry policy and programs to continually improve performance.”