Central Lincoln and GP: A Long and Productive Partnership

Jill Lyon, Board Secretary

This year, it’s my turn to be the newbie on the Central Lincoln Board. I have to start by saying it’s an honor to serve customers in north and east Lincoln County, and to work with my Board colleagues and the hardworking professionals of CLPUD.

It’s a landmark year for us, as we celebrate Central Lincoln’s 75 years of service on the Central Coast this year. Hopefully, you’ve seen our special anniversary logo and other efforts celebrating the occasion. And interestingly, this is also a celebration year for our largest customer. The Georgia-Pacific Toledo containerboard mill is celebrating 60 years in operation. While the first paper rolled off GPs first machine in December 1957, continuous operation began in January 1958, and the mill was dedicated by then-Oregon Secretary of State Mark Hatfield in Mach 1958.

The relationship between CLPUD and GP Toledo has been important to both parties from the beginning. Having a large industrial customer helps Central Lincoln keep electrical rates down for everyone and gives the utility enough economy of scale to pursue innovations and improvements that benefit all customers. GP benefits fom having robust electrical infrastructure available to meet its needs and a utility willing to work with it as those needs change. Both partners are looking long-term, to a future that includes adapting to ever more change.

Some of that change is pretty exciting. I was interested to see a recent presentation by GP about its plans for a new facility in Toledo to complement the containerboard mill. After seven years of research and testing, the company is seeking approval to build the first commecial-size pilot of what it’s calling “Juno” technology. This process recovers fiber fom paper-based waste currently considered unrecyclable, such as napkins, plates, and cups, while stripping away plastic coatings and food contamination. The recovered fiber will be fed into the mills existing pulping process to make containerboard. Whatever can’t be recovered from the waste will be returned to landfills, or where viable, fed back into markets for reuse.

The numbers involved are large: the Juno facility at full operation would handle 300 tons of now-unrecyclable waste per day, and ultimately reduce the volume going to landfills by upto 90 percent. Waste would be turned into plastic-wrapped bales before being shipped to Toledo, so no piles of trash on this end. The best sources for this waste will be fast-food restaurants, airports and other places using large amounts of disposable serveware.

Feeding a facility at that rate would make a significant diffence in the amount of landfill waste; Juno could mean a big change in the recycling world. GP hopes to have the facility completed in 2020; it will be interesting to see how the project moves forward.

The Juno facility will mean a small change in the relationship between GP and CLPUD, as Juno will require some additional power. But that’s just the latest development in what’s been a successful, long-term partnership. We’re looking forward to the next 60 years.