Sonoco, a diversified global packaging company, has said that it is investing $2.8m at its uncoated recycled paper mill, located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The investment includes the installation of two natural gas-fired boilers that will supply steam to the mill’s papermaking process.

Construction of a new building and installation of the boilers is expected to be completed in August 2010.

The Holyoke mill has been making paper for 136 years. Sonoco’s paper machine has an annual output of 66,000 tons of uncoated recycled paperboard. Sonoco also manufactures paper tubes and cores at a separate location in Holyoke that uses approximately 80% of the paperboard produced at the company’s neighboring paper mill. The two locations combined employ more than 135 people.

Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E) announced in mid-2009 that it will cease steam production operations by late third quarter 2010, citing a major decrease in industrial demand as the key driver for its decision.

Sonoco worked closely with HG&E to develop a mutually acceptable exit strategy and the company will continue to purchase electricity and natural gas for the new boilers from HG&E.

Dave Schultz, plant manager of Sonoco, said: “There has been true collaboration throughout a very difficult time for both parties. Jim Lavelle and his team have been outstanding to deal with throughout this process. We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with HG&E and the City as we prepare for the future.”