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A Circular Economy

Our business has long relied on renewable and recyclable resources to make our products. We are building on that experience to broaden the circle - from the raw materials we use, to how they are managed at the end of their useful life. Our industrial processes benefit from mimicking the closed-loop flow of materials of natural ecosystems.

These efforts are enhanced through our continuous improvement initiatives and engineering innovations focused on increasing our manufacturing efficiencies and turning more of the materials we handle into saleable products.

Our progress in finding recycling and beneficial-use options for our byproducts has accelerated over the past few years, driven by a more consistent, disciplined, companywide approach to defining, measuring and reporting byproduct streams. We are also sharing best practices across our manufacturing facilities to build on our success. Together with external experts and partners, we continue to evaluate opportunities to redirect additional byproducts to beneficial, higher value products.

We are increasingly designing our production and materials management systems to align with circular economy principles the amount of resources we use, keeping them in use for as long as possible and extracting maximum value from them.



  • Improving resource efficiency in our manufacturing processes to minimize waste.
  • Minimizing the amount of waste we send to landfills.
  • Finding beneficial, higher value uses for our manufacturing byproducts.


  • Increasing the amount of reused or recycled materials in our manufacturing processes while still meeting customer specifications.
  • Finding economically viable markets for our byproducts near our facilities so that transportation costs are lower than the cost to landfill them.
  • Minimizing byproducts generated due to equipment failures and operational challenges.

What Waste?

When Mark Clack joined Domtar in 2016 as the manager of the Delaware, Ohio, personal care facility, he noted that an impressive 80 percent of the manufacturing byproducts was being beneficially used or recycled. “Given Domtar’s commitment to sustainability, and my experience helping a microbrewery I previously worked at in California achieve zero waste to the landfill, I saw the opportunity to do the same in Delaware.”

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”Teeming” for Wildlife in Pennsylvania

For decades, Elk County, Pennsylvania, supplied coal to power the region and beyond, including to Domtar’s local mill in Johnsonburg. But strip mining has left behind a legacy of scarred land, marked by acidic soils devoid of organic matter and nutrients – conditions not suitable for growing vegetation.

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A look at byproducts management in our pulp and paper mills


Total manufacturing byproducts generated = 473,888 dry metric tons

(Dry Metric Tons)

Beneficially used 69 percent of manufacturing byproducts generated by our pulp and paper mills in 2018, up from 59 percent in 2013. This compares to an U.S. industry average of 43 percent beneficial use.*

*2018 American Forest & Paper Association Sustainability Report, Additional Environmental Indicators.