Page 1

TRANSFORM TRAINEES INTO EMPLOYEES WITH APPRENTICESHIPS Specialized programs support recruitment and retention efforts. p. 10


Better ideas. A page at a time.

Sustainable, integrated mills make their own energy. p. 16

THE ART OF A TEA BAG Take a reimagined look at a familiar paper made from the “super fiber” abaca. p. 14


Great Greatcompanies companieskeep keepproduct product integrity integritytop topof ofmind, mind,top topto to bottom. bottom. p. p.33 V4 V4 Issue Issue222016 2016

Enhancing Everyday Life At the workplace. On the go. In the comfort of your own home. And everywhere in between. Glatfelter’s advanced airlaid and composite fiber materials are found in a multitude of end-use applications, delivering world-class comfort, innovative technology and highly customizable solutions.



ADVANCED AIRLAID MATERIALS Feminine Hygiene | Baby Wipes | Adult Incontinence Personal Care | Home Care

COMPOSITE FIBERS Food & Beverage | Composite Laminates | Nonwoven Wallcovering Base Metallized Products | Technical Specialties


Publisher’s Note



e have to earn the right to serve our customers every day. So, at Glatfelter we talk a lot about impact zones. The things we can control. We empower Glatfelter PEOPLE to focus on what matters most in order to deliver quality products that meet our customers’ specific needs. Delivering consistent quality—day in and day out—can be challenging in a manufacturing environment such as ours that is filled with many different variables. It requires all of our PEOPLE to have strong standard operating procedures, timely training, and consistent feedback. It also means we focus on developing our future leaders. Our apprenticeship program you’ll read about (page 10) is a good example. Investment in our PEOPLE and our processes underscores Glatfelter’s overall commitment to sustainability—a commitment now 152 years strong. In this issue, we dive deeper into the importance of maintaining high quality standards in product manufacturing, no matter the industry, in “Quality Conscious” (page 3). High quality standards will help you to protect your brand reputation and at the same time extend your end customers’ buying lifecycle. Customers, after all, have choices. At the end of the day, we want to meet your expectations and earn your business.

William Yanavitch II Senior Vice President HR & Administration, Glatfelter

Take Note

Stepping Out at IDEA16 Glatfelter showcased its range of nonwoven product capabilities in feminine hygiene, wipes, and adult incontinence at this year’s recordsetting nonwovens and engineered fabrics tradeshow in Boston. Next up: INDEX17 in Geneva.

Power Up with DreamWeaver Batteries are about to get better thanks to our partnership with DreamWeaver, a tech company focused on best-in-class lithium ion battery separators. Together, we’re developing new technology and electrical papers for energy storage.

A Nod to Innovation PUBLISHER:

William Yanavitch II



Lorrie Bryan, Laurie Hileman, Joe Jones, Chris Lewis, Jen W. O’Deay, Kathryn Will, and Ilene Wolff


Contents 3 10 11

PHOTOGRAPHERS: AGI Studios, Doug Julian, Rémi Laprise, and Michael Randolph

PROOFREADER: Stacey Tetloff


FEATURE The Costs of Quality Failure Can Be Incalculable PAPER “U” Apprenticeships Foster Loyal Employees USE ME Voter Registration Cards and Informational Pamphlets Are Key Elements of Every Election Day in the United States PAPER WORKING Keeping Up with North American Wipes Demand

13 14 16

LOOK WHO’S TALKING Specialty Paper and Fiber-based Engineered Materials in the News ALWAYS ON MY MIND The Art of a Tea Bag DID YOU KNOW? Sustainable, Integrated Mills Make Their Own Energy and Help to Reduce Glatfelter’s Carbon Footprint

Glatfelter received the 2015 Manufacturing Innovators Award for the specialized use of vibration sensor technology and data analysis at our Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, facility. The Manufacturer’s Association of South Central Pennsylvania awarded the honor.

Beyond Paper, Volume 4, Issue 2, August 2016, is published by The F.P. Horak Company, 1311 Straits Dr, Bay City MI 48706. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The F.P. Horak Company, 1311 Straits Dr, Bay City MI 48706. Copyright© 2016 at The F.P. Horak Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

This issue is printed on: Cover: 150# Glatfelter Tiffin Tag Text: 100# Glatfelter Tiffin Tag This cover is coated with: Wikoff Color Soft Feel Matte Aqueous

Beyond Paper | 1


Run With The Best Increase productivity and profitability with Pixelle. As the leading manufacturer of high-speed inkjet papers in North America, Glatfelter’s product portfolio delivers superior performance at an unmatched value. Our Pixelle line — engineered to meet the demands of today’s production inkjet presses — offers untreated, treated, and coated product options, ensuring outstanding image fidelity and post-processing attributes. Dial into the perfect balance between speed, quality, and ink consumption. Pixelle is your one-stop product line for any printing need.

96 South George Street, Suite 500 | York, PA 17401

8 8 8 74 4 4 2 4 6

p i xe l l e @ g l a t fe l t e r. c o m

w w w. p i xe l l e p a p e r. c o m



Great companies keep product integrity top of mind, top to bottom.

by Lorrie Bryan

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ore than 60 years ago, without sufficiently assessing the risks prior to sale, pharmaceuticals company Chemie Grünenthal marketed a “wonder drug” touted to treat a variety of ailments. By the mid-1950s, 14 companies were marketing the drug to pregnant women in 46 different countries as a remedy for morning sickness. This “completely safe” drug, thalidomide, resulted in countless miscarriages, more than 2,000 infant deaths, and significant birth defects in more than 10,000 children. In 2010, in order to save time and money, a contractor failed to sufficiently test the strength of the cement on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, resulting in 11 deaths and the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history. More recently, Takata failed to adequately test the stability of the ammonium nitrate propellant in its airbag inflators, and now nearly all major automakers and one-quarter of all vehicles on the road in the United States could eventually be subject to recall. Most lapses in quality management don’t make headlines worldwide. And, fortunately, they don’t result in loss of life, the disastrous pollution of 1,100 miles of shoreline, pandemic birth defects, or the widespread recall of nearly 78 million cars. Yet, maintaining high quality standards is crucial to protecting your brand reputation and your end customer’s buying lifecycle. “World-class companies engrain quality in their people, processes, and products,” notes Jim Kimber, director of quality and continuous improvement for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit (SPBU). “This culture of quality is part of the value we deliver to our customers, and it is essential to sustaining a successful business over time.”

4 | Beyond Paper

of quality systems for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit. “Glatfelter has always been recognized in the industry as a supplier of high-quality products. Earning this reputation requires a commitment to customer satisfaction throughout the entire organization. Implementation of a quality assurance system is essential in order for a business to ensure that a product meets customer requirements. A comprehensive quality assurance system serves as the foundation to help minimize rework, scrap, and customer complaints,” Rebling explains. “Commitment is obtained by upper management’s involvement in quality planning and the involvement of employees in the corrective and preventiveaction process.” According to Rebling, clearly identifying customer needs early on makes it simpler to maintain high quality standards. “Customer involvement is critical during the early stages of product development to prevent overdesign and to clarify product requirements,” he says. “Customer satisfaction undoubtedly begins and ends with the customer.”

Continual improvement counters complacency

The assurance of quality equals customer confidence If there’s just one quality misstep—at any point in the production process—that resulting flaw can irreparably affect your sales and relationship with your customers and their customers. For example, Lumber Liquidators, the United States’ largest retailer of hardwood flooring, claims to have more than 2 million satisfied customers and the highest standards in the industry, but many homeowners and home builders are purchasing flooring elsewhere because of bad publicity in March 2015 and subsequent concerns about toxic levels of formaldehyde in Chinese-made laminate flooring the retailer sold. “Sales are falling rapidly and the company doesn’t seem to be gaining customer trust back very quickly,” Travis Houim of the Motley Fool reported in June 2016. “When defective products reach consumers, the worst-case scenario involves a loss of business and, at the very least, results in a loss of customer confidence,” says Thomas Rebling, manager

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” This is one of the most cited quotes of the late Andy Grove, Intel’s legendary co-founder and former CEO. Although paranoia may be an extreme description, guarding against complacency is considered an essential element of quality assurance. Many point to complacency as the reason for Toyota’s massive recalls (10 million) in 2009 - 2010. The recalls addressed quality assurance and quality control problems with removable floor mats and unintended acceleration that could lead to a crash. Numerous fatalities were associated with the problem, and a Minnesota man served two years of an eight-year sentence for vehicular manslaughter before evidence emerged attributing the accident to Toyota’s “sticky accelerator” problem. Eventually, Toyota paid a $1.2 billion U.S. Justice Department fine to avoid prosecution for covering up the severe safety problems and continuing to make cars with defective parts. For decades, Toyota had a legendary quality management program in place. In 2001, the company established The Toyota Way, a set of business principles based on “kaizen” (continuous improvement) intended to eliminate waste and overproduction, as

Beyond Paper | 5


well as to create a system where all employees can suggest a change where they see fit. Following the massive recalls in 2009 - 2010, Toyota acknowledged repeatedly that it had tried to grow too fast and consequently failed to focus on quality. “Toyota’s early growth resulted from its relentless pursuit of quality—this was its strategic competency. However, it lost its way when growth took priority. When you lose sight of your strategic competency, the very differentiator that gives you your competitive advantage, you will damage your reputation in the market,” notes Denise Harrison, senior consultant for the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. “For Toyota, the loss of future sales and its reputation is incalculable.” Toyota’s perceived complacency and loss of focus on quality severely damaged the trust that it had built up with customers over decades. At Glatfelter, complacency is countered by making process refinement and improvement an ongoing priority. “Continuous improvement is an integral part of our quality journey. We put significant effort into improving our quality systems and, therefore, have recently established a new quality issue management process to focus on root-cause elimination and sustainable corrective actions,” says Stefan Neichel, director of technical services for Glatfelter’s Composite Fibers Business Unit (CFBU). “Our quality mission is: ‘To be the quality leader in every market we serve, to the benefit of our customers and all stakeholders. Continuously improving, we work to exceed our customer expectations.’ Quality awareness, ‘doing it right first time,’ is key to involving all levels of the company in delivering superior products to our customers,” Neichel says. “We also have yearly quality days in all of our facilities that involve all personnel. Leadership and passion are essential to keep quality awareness and performance on a consistently high level.”

6 | Beyond Paper

Process improvement creates greater conformity The primary objective of Glatfelter’s process improvement is to reduce variation for product-specific priorities. “Reaching the target more quickly and reducing variation minimizes scrap while improving customer satisfaction through consistency of performance,” Rebling explains. “We ensure conformity by building the requirements for product quality and workmanship into standard operating procedures and work instructions, and by verifying employee competency. Emphasizing accountability through regular auditing and the sharing of customer feedback ensures conformity. Working in a culture that emphasizes the importance of maintaining high quality standards also empowers employees to make the right decision.” Neichel says that conformity is supported by CFBU’s global quality process that emphasizes quality assurance, quality culture, and quality control, and includes tight raw material specifications, full traceability, training and auditing, modern quality control laboratories, statistical process control, state-of-the-art online equipment, and other measures.

Comparing cost In manufacturing, there can be added costs associated with maintaining higher quality standards, but when you produce superior quality products, you can generally offset those costs by charging higher prices. There are also internal and external costs associated with failing to maintain higher quality standards. In some cases, you may have to scrap defective products and incur additional production costs to replace them. If defective products reach customers, you may be obligated to pay for returns and replacements, and, in serious cases, you could incur legal costs or fines for failure to comply with customer or industry standards. Having an effective quality control system in place and adhering to it keeps all of these costs down; it’s less expensive to “do it right the first time.” The popular Six Sigma process was developed by Motorola in the 1980s and designed to target manufacturing defects and then reduce them to a smaller level, thus reducing production costs. “The traditional view is that if a company wants to reduce defects and accordingly reduce the cost of poor quality, the cost of good quality would have to be increased—higher investments in any kind of checking, testing, evaluation, and training of operators, etc. The philosophy behind Six Sigma is that if you measure how many defects are in a process, you can figure out how to systematically

eliminate them and get as close to perfection as possible,” explains Arne Buthmann, partner with Valeocon Management Consulting, a global company specializing in quality and process improvement. “If you build quality into process, service, and products, and do things right the first time, the increase of the cost of good quality, while striving for zero defect performance, can be smoothed if processes get better,” he says. Buthmann notes that maintaining high-quality standards in product manufacturing is particularly important. “Any variation from the highest quality standard will have a ripple effect on downstream process steps, which is particularly important for the supply industry. Many companies have the mindset that as long as they produce within specifications, that is sufficient,” he says. “However, if that’s the case for every process step in a value chain, the likelihood for a failure increases exponentially.”

Although most failures fortunately won’t result in a catastrophe comparable to the thalidomide birth defects or the Takata exploding airbags, every failure is potentially costly in terms of customer satisfaction and subsequent financial losses. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer or client will usually tell nine to 15 people about a subpar experience. If customers share their dissatisfaction on social media or in an online review, the negative effect is tremendously amplified. Also, good customers are valuable; it is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. Recent research also indicates that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent raises profits by more than 25 percent. Customer retention begins and ends with customer satisfaction, and that is just one of the reasons why successful companies keep customer satisfaction top of mind, top to bottom.

Jim Kimber is director of quality and continuous improvement for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit (SPBU). Contact Jim at 1-717-225-4711, ext 2220, or by emailing James.Kimber@

Stefan Neichel is director of technical services for Glatfelter’s Composite Fibers Business Unit (CFBU). In addition to quality assurance, he leads continuous improvement and environmental, health, and safety teams within seven international CFBU sites. Contact Stefan at +49 7224 66 245, or by emailing Stefan.Neichel@

It’s Your Job, Too by Lorrie Bryan Every member of the manufacturing organization plays a role in assuring quality, from the top down to the bottom up. Here are three things that are essential for this to happen, according to Arne Buthmann, partner with Valeocon Management Consulting, a global company specializing in quality and process improvement: 1. Start right and keep it right. The cornerstone principles of quality

assurance (“fit for purpose” and “right first time”) should be top-ofmind throughout the organization. “It’s not about testing quality into the product at the end of the process but about ensuring right first time in every step of it,” Buthmann advises. 2. Get to the root cause of quality failure. “It’s OK if an error occurs, but not if the same error occurs a second time. Analyze the problem properly and implement effective

corrective and preventive actions promptly,” he says. 3. Establish a continuousimprovement mindset throughout the organization. “Think of quality and efficiency as two sides of the same coin. You have to have standard procedures in place, but these standards have to be challenged if new ways prove to be more efficient to achieve that same or even superior quality,” Buthmann says.

Beyond Paper | 7


Reviews Matter Word-of-mouth is getting louder. by Lorrie Bryan A decade ago, if a consumer wanted to know which paper towels were the best, she would ask her friends or look at Consumer Reports or Good Housekeeping for a review or seal of approval. These days, you can stand in front of the paper towel display at your local retailer and, with a few clicks on your smartphone, you can have immediate (.32 seconds) access to more than 1.97 million Internet sites relating to customer reviews of the quality of paper towels. Easier still, you can go to Amazon, search for paper towels, and find thousands of customer reviews ranging from one star (awful) to five stars (excellent), many including in-depth critiques

8 | Beyond Paper

of the properties of the paper towels: absorbency, durability, and attractiveness. You can also find consumer reviews on the respective websites and Facebook pages of most paper towel brands. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the primary influencers of decisions, small and large, and the Internet has amplified that influence. Hundreds of years ago, when wayfaring pioneers and traders like Marco Polo wanted to know where the best watering holes were, they asked the locals. Today, when people want to know where the best “watering hole� is, they pull out their phones, go to Trip Advisor (350 million monthly visitors), look for the five-star

options, and read the reviews from their fellow travelers. The reviews matter; rarely will anyone seek out a one-star watering hole if a four-star option is available. Companies tasked with protecting their brands recognize the importance of customer satisfaction, and they strive to avoid a one-star or bad review at all costs. Accordingly, customers complaining on social media or in reviews are frequently addressed personally by a representative of the company that manufactured the product. They are often offered a compensatory product or service to assuage their ill feelings and diminish the negative impact of the review. Quality has never been more scrutinized—or more important.


eCore: Designed with Active Lifestyles in Mind To meet consumer demands for discreet adult incontinence products, Glatfelter has developed an advanced airlaid material with superior absorbency.


here was a time—in the not-so-distant past—in which adult incontinence was an awkward subject to mention (if it were mentioned at all). And consumers looking to purchase supplies for adult incontinence were mainly dependent on institutional-style, low-cost products. However, that has changed in recent years. As aging adults have become more active—and as their numbers continue to grow—they are demanding products that better suit their lifestyles. Standard incontinence products of the past had thick, oftentimes bulky, cores that negatively affected a consumer’s wearing experience. Today, state-of-the-art adult incontinence products are being manufactured with customers’ preferences in mind, particularly comfort (thin, soft, and flexible), discreetness (invisible and odorless), and security (no leaks). To overcome the previous limitation of thick cores, Glatfelter has developed an advanced airlaid material with superior absorbency and a garment-like structure. The new material, known as eCore, contains up to 85 percent superabsorbent

polymer (SAP) that can absorb nearly 100 times its own weight in water. “By providing up to 10 times more liquid retention per cubic centimeter, our new eCore enables the design of significantly thinner and higher-absorbing incontinence products that are more garmentlike,” says Henning Röttger, director of new product development for Glatfelter’s Advanced Airlaid Materials Business Unit. To ensure that the eCore captures as much liquid as possible, Glatfelter has also developed a new approach to a product’s acquisition layers (the layers by which the liquid is absorbed and passed to the fast-absorbing core) via its iCore material platform. “The eCore combines an airlaid layer (primarily made of pulp) with a nonwoven layer that contains synthetic fibers,” Röttger adds. “This integrated structure quickly absorbs a larger amount of fluid and stores it until it can be fully captured by the eCore.” Through each of these innovations, Glatfelter improves the absorbency of adult incontinence products. However, the effect is more far-reaching than that. Glatfelter is enhancing everyday life, so adult consumers can fully embrace their active lifestyles.

Paper U



A Glatfelter program that has trained specialized manufacturing workers in Germany since the 1950s supports company-wide recruitment and retention efforts.

by Ilene Wolff

When the nonprofit Jobs for the Future organization convened education, business, and labor leaders in late 2014 for a summit to address the shortage of advanced manufacturing workers in the United States, one topic of discussion was workplace training programs. Such opportunities, including apprenticeships, have been shown to help with employee recruitment and retention. However, unlike in Europe and India, apprenticeships in the United States have largely been replaced by vocational and post-secondary education. When apprenticeships are offered, they provide an employee a paycheck from day one and wage increases as skill levels increase, hands-on career training, and a nationally recognized, portable credential, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeships were established in the Late Middle Ages, the same time period when Johannes Gutenberg invented the 10 | Beyond Paper

printing press. Today, they remain a way of life at one of Glatfelter’s Composite Fibers Business Unit (CFBU) facilities in Gernsbach, Germany, which has had an apprenticeship program since at least the 1950s. Each year, about 250 applicants vie for15 apprenticeships at the Gernsbach location, says Angela Spicola-Hanoman, a Glatfelter human resources officer. The apprentices alternate for three years between a vocational education classroom and a Gernsbach facility for on-the-job experience to become proficient in such professions as paper technology engineer, industrial clerk (office worker), electrical technician, industrial mechanic, and a diverse study program. Spicola-Hanoman says almost all of Glatfelter’s apprentices complete their training. “Ninety-two percent of our apprentices become Glatfelter employees,” she says. “The 8 percent we don’t get will

not have completed their apprenticeships, or will have opted for something else.” Just as Jobs for the Future concluded that former apprentices tend to stay with a company long-term, Spicola-Hanoman says Glatfelter’s apprentices tend to become loyal employees. More than 40 percent of its 650 employees are former apprentices. Glatfelter’s real-world experience is reflected in other employers’ attitudes. When the University of Derby (Nottingham, England) surveyed 200 employers that offered apprenticeships designed to teach higher-level skills, researchers found that the companies generally thought such training would help with employee retention. Just as Glatfelter can trace its success back in part to Gutenberg’s 600-year-old innovation, the company and its apprenticetrained employees owe some of their good fortune to the apprenticeship system that was developed that many years ago.

Use Me

DEMOCRACY AT WORK Voter registration cards and informational pamphlets are key elements of every Election Day in the United States. by Kathryn Will

Well Made!

The right to vote—the responsibility to vote—can be somewhat intangible. There is the act of voting, of course, but the right to vote takes its physical form in the very simple way of a voter registration card. At surface level, a voter registration card, printed on durable, 100-pound tag stock that’s perfect for handling and mailing, holds the most basic of information, a name and an address, but upon deeper inspection, these voter registration cards hold so much more. On a large scale, each voter registration card holds a history. A history of building a democracy. A history of disregarded Americans fighting for and gaining the right to have their voices heard. A history of the American people taking part in the very important process of electing their government and shaping the laws that guide the country. On a more personal level, every voter registration card holds a precious right, a chance to express support or opposition, and an obligation to take part in a process that includes and values, rather than excludes, the masses. Every Election Day—whether it’s a presidential election or a local millage— is an opportunity to exercise a core right, perhaps a core responsibility, of being an American citizen. And every Election Day, every vote counts. As the complexity of the issues increases and the un-vetted discourse grows louder, the dissemination of clear, straightforward information is an essential part of making the most of these Election Day opportunities. Candidate statements, local ballot measures with proponent and opponent arguments, and other key information contained in voter information pamphlets, typically seen on a highquality form bond, can help voters cut through the static and see to the heart of what’s on the ballot. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

Show us your very own masterpiece! Do you have a paper or fiber-based engineered material project you are particularly proud of? An example of ingenuity, creativity, or great craftsmanship you’d like to see featured in an upcoming issue of Beyond Paper? If so, send a copy, including your name and contact information, to us at: Glatfelter’s “Use Me” | C/o The F.P. Horak Company | PO Box 925 | Bay City MI 48707-0925 | Or by

Beyond Paper | 11

Paper Working


NAME: Alexandre Gosselin JOB TITLE: General Mill Manager MILL LOCATION: Gatineau, Canada, and coming soon to Fort Smith, Arkansas

12 | Beyond Paper


dvanced airlaid materials are… helping Glatfelter customers produce the most advanced, trustworthy, and innovative personal care products on the market today. Moms and dads around the world appreciate Alexandre Gosselin and his team of Glatfelter PEOPLE in Canada. They just might not know it. That’s because the advanced airlaid materials manufactured there are used to make baby wipes as well as other often-used (yet rarely discussed) personal care products in the feminine hygiene, adult incontinence, and home care industries. The demand for disposable wipes and other products that absorb better, absorb faster, and retain fluids longer has kept Glatfelter’s airlaid facility in Gatineau, Canada, running at or over capacity for the past two years. In response, the company invested $80 million and will hire 70 - 80 workers at a new facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas. “It’s the first time we’ve built something from scratch,” says Gosselin, noting that previous Glatfelter facilities, including the original operation in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, purchased in 1864, were acquired from other businesses. The new operation in Fort Smith, Arkansas, will make Glatfelter the largest producer of airlaid materials in the world when production begins in late 2017/early 2018.

Look Who’s Talking

“People can use wallpaper in their home and it looks like a designer has been there.”

“As the popularity of wipes continues to grow, so do their uses….” ~ Taiki Beauty

“…for many people, the notebook is simply superior to its digital competitors.”

~ Kate Benz,

~ David Sax, The New Yorker

“Sales of adult incontinence garments in the U.S. could equal those of baby diapers in a decade.” ~ Bloomberg Businessweek

“From laundry detergents to air fresheners to even food and beverage products, many industries are using scented ads [made possible because of microencapsulation technology] to subconsciously trigger the memories of their readers.” ~

Beyond Paper | 13

Working in her home studio, Ruby Silvious, a graphics designer and owner of Studio + in New York, uses watercolor to paint on used tea bags.

THE ART OF A TEA BAG Take a reimagined look at a familiar paper. by Jen W. O’Deay

14 | Beyond Paper

What were you doing January 3, 2015? Perhaps you know, but, more likely, the day passed as any and many others. Your exact whereabouts and actions may be hard to recall. But this is not so for graphics designer Ruby Silvious, owner of Design + Studio in Hudson Valley, New York, who knows precisely what took place that day. That’s because it marked the beginning of an artistic endeavor that has earned Silvious global renown. While having tea at a sandwich shop, Silvious, like many at the start of a new year, was contemplating goals. Specifically, she was soul-searching potential artistic avenues. “I had resolved to paint something,” Silvious says. “Having tea, I thought ‘Oh, why not tea?’” She declared a personal goal of painting, something related to enjoying tea every day, and posting her artwork on social media. Yet, the artist quickly became captivated by the composite fiber material accompanying her muse: tea bags. “[My goal] evolved to painting on tea bags,” Silvious says. “It’s a small canvas, do-able daily.”

Always On My Mind

Silvious’s tea bag art has captured global attention, and her book, 363 Days of Tea, is due out this September.

True to her resolve, Silvious hand-painted a watercolor image each day thereafter of 2015, some whimsical and light, others evocative and profound, upon tea bags—used tea bags. An implausible project? Over 4,000 followers on Instagram might disagree, attracted to Silvious’s art and her ultimate goal as an artist: to inspire people to look again, to reimagine the familiar. For an artist such as Silvious, what better “canvas” from which to turn old into new and inspire a second thought? What’s more familiar—and more overlooked—than a tea bag, the soggy remains discarded by hands happily wrapped around warm tea mugs? Tea bags as art? Preposterous! Perhaps, but the conclusion would depend on the way most people look at tea bags, or, more likely, the way most don’t. As Kai Wulff, general sales manager of food and beverage for Glatfelter’s Composite Fibers Business Unit, headquartered in Gernsbach, Germany, says, “The composition of a tea bag is much more of a phenomenon than many may think.”

“After all,” Wulff says, “this paper must do two things that are deemed to be at complete opposite sides of the spectrum. The flavors of the tea must perfectly infuse the water. Therefore, the paper must be porous enough to let this happen. On the other hand, the tea, and even more trying, the fine tea particles, is not allowed to slip through the paper. Through the composition of numerous raw fibers, this criterion is fulfilled.” Sips of tea are likely savored without any thought of the dual-natured requirements tea bags must meet, or of the “super fiber” present in the tea bag paper that helps to ensure its abilities: abaca fiber, also known as Manila hemp, derived from the species of banana native to the Philippines. “The long and strong fibers of abaca are responsible for the paper’s porosity and the strength of the lightweight material,” Wulff says, “and also give the tea bag its folding and crimping properties. Abaca’s perfect combination of strength and porosity, simultaneously, adds desired characteristics to specialty paper, including excellent infusion and neutral taste.” “Our key ingredient in tea filter paper is possibly the most sustainable fiber in the industry. The plant grows quickly and under warm tropical conditions,” Wulff says, “Responsible harvesting is also important to us.” With two out of every three tea bags in the world made from Glatfelter composite fiber materials, it’s probable that Silvious’s upcoming book, 363 Days of Tea, due out September 2017, contains images of watercolor-painted tea bags made by Glatfelter, although this fact could be easily overlooked—much like the art of tea bags itself.

Beyond Paper | 15

Did You Know...?

POWERHOUSE RECYCLERS Sustainable, integrated facilities in Spring Grove and Chillicothe help to reduce Glatfelter’s environmental impact. by Laurie Hileman Recycling has long helped fuel Glatfelter’s large integrated and sustainable facilities in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, and Chillicothe, Ohio. Integrated, in this case, refers to the facilities’ ability to convert trees into wood pulp that is then used in the papermaking process, something the global supplier and leading manufacturer of specialty papers and fiber-based engineered materials has been doing for more than 150 years. The mills’ ability to recycle the energy, water, and chemicals used in the pulping and papermaking processes makes them sustainable from a financial perspective and from an environmental perspective. “I don’t think people have a very good feel for how much true recycling goes on in a pulp and paper operation,” says Kathy Wiedeman, director of environmental, health, and safety for the company’s Specialty Papers Business Unit.

16 | Beyond Paper

Between facilities, sludge, wood knots, sawdust, and other wood wastes are burned in power boilers. The Chillicothe operation also has the ability to burn tire-derived fuel. The steam generated from these boilers makes electricity, which is then used to power most, and in Spring Grove’s case all, operations. These combined heat and power processes are much more energy efficient than typical electrical power plants. Both facilities operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Wiedeman and the mill teams are always on the lookout for ways to improve energy efficiencies and raw material usage. For example, by installing variable frequency drives used in the papermaking process, they can control how much energy is drawn based on usage rather than constantly running at 100 percent. While these investments garner immediate cost-savings, Wiedeman notes that they also demonstrate an investment in the future. “It’s not just a do it for now, it’s a do it for the long term,” she says.

Kathy Wiedeman is director of

environmental, health, and safety for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit and its three U.S.-based SPBU sites. Contact Kathy at 1-740-7723387, or by emailing Katherine.

Make your tea bag talk... WoW PRINTECÂŽ The branding technology for your filter paper.

Beyond Paper Food & Beverage

Metallized Products

Glatfelter Gernsbach GmbH Composite Fibers Business Unit P.O. Box 1155 76584 Gernsbach, Germany Phone: +49 7224 66-0 Fax: +49 7224 66-274

Technical Specialties

Composite Laminates

Glatfelter Composite Fibers NA, Inc Phone: 770-536-2400 Fax: 770-536-2900 Email:

Nonwoven Wallcover Base

YEAH we’re in there, .



Beyond Paper August 16  
Beyond Paper August 16