April 3, 2017
Green Manufacturing Award

Seaman Paper takes soft steps toward sustainability

Seaman Paper Company was recognized as a leader in sustainability at the American Forest & Paper Association's 2015 annual meeting in Texas.

Taking "Soft Steps Forward" might sound like a philosophy that comes naturally in the satin tissue industry, but for Seaman Paper in Gardner, taking a soft approach is no simple matter. Its Soft Steps Forward Initiative hinges on making all decisions with respect to the environment while maintaining efficient operations.

As the leading supplier of lightweight decorative tissue, Seaman Paper holds itself to the highest standards.

"We envisioned our sustainability program being gentle on the environment as well as having an element of constant improvement," Seaman President Ryan Lichwell said. "We named our program the Soft Steps Forward Initiative to represent these characteristics, as well as the program being a journey, opposed to a single investment or action."

Ambitious goals

Seaman's ongoing goals aim for the reduction of greenhouse gases, acid rain and smog. In addition, the company has increased the levels of recycled water used in the papermaking process. Seaman utilizes roughly 780,000 gallons of water per day from the Otter River. Following the papermaking process, the water undergoes primary and secondary treatment in Seaman's private wastewater treatment facility.

The installation of wood-fired boilers have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 91 percent since 2006. In addition, the wood-fired boiler has diminished oil consumption by over 97 percent.

"Seaman burns 30,000 tons of biomass per year to displace oil use. They burn unusable palates and whole tree wood chips," said Jamie Dammann, treasurer at New Hampshire furnace servicer North County Procurement.

Embracing double use

Seaman is a master of double use, recycling everything from wrapping materials to bottom boiler ash; even the steam has two jobs: producing electricity and subsequently drying the paper.

"We are very proud of our team members who embrace these improvements as part of our culture and continuously evaluate our program looking for opportunities to leave a positive effect," Lichwell said.

Read about the other 2017 Manufacturing Excellence Award winners

Manufacturing Excellence Award, small company

Manufacturing Excellence Award, midsize company

Manufacturing Excellence Award, large company

Product Design & Innovation Award

Workforce Development & Productivity Award

Collaboration in Manufacturing Award

Emerging Manufacturer Award


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