Right now there's a strong trend of wanting to "take down" paper companies and the government officials who allow them. - There are stories all over the news to this effect. But there is a way to have paper mills welcome in their communities. It is doable.
How? It requires a multifaceted approach. It takes:
1) Everyone, especially management, in the mill to genuinely care about the community. Management does need to drive this initiative, since attitude trickles from the top down, and when management cares about what happens in the mill, it shows. Morale reflects it. And morale and integrity are big players when it comes to running your mill in a way that makes the community a healthy and good-smelling place to live.
2) You also need honest government officials who care about the community. I do realize that, based on where you live, that previous sentence could be a very charged statement. But frankly, that's exactly what you need for your mill to become an integral and welcome part of a community. Government agencies need to be key players, and listen to the needs, wants, and concerns of the townfolks, as well as the needs, concerns, and finances of your mill.
3) Community input is critical. A community that is proactive, and insists on high but reachable standards for the paper mill is essential. You'll do a better job with odor abatement, for example, if you know exactly what the community wants as standards. By working together with the community as a team, because you live in that same community, you'll come out winning.
Want to see a mill that implemented these three steps? Go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to Quinnesec, at the Billerud mill. Originally, the people in the nearby town of Iron Mountain didn't really want another mill in the area, but when they realized a mill was going in anyway, they worked with the local and state governments for high-level but not unreasonable regulations, following the above three steps. And it worked really well for everyone involved.
It ended up being a win-win solution. And a nice area to live in, too.
So yes, it can be done. It takes a lot of listening, and a lot of working together on many levels.
- It's possible to have the stories in the press turned into positive stories about paper mills in the near future. It is achievable.
How much can you achieve this year? Next year?