Sonoco Products Company (Sonoco), a US-based manufacturer of industrial and consumer packaging products and a provider of packaging services, will permanently close its uncoated recycled paperboard mill located in Lancaster, Ohio, effective May 16, 2009. After the closure, the company will operate 21 uncoated recycled paperboard mills and 31 paper machines globally incorporating 11 mills and 19 machines operated in US and Canada.

The uncoated recycled paperboard mill is located at 831 S. Memorial Drive, which has the capacity to annually produce about 56,000 tons of paperboard that has been used mainly to supply company’s industrial products converting operations. The plant closure will impact 58 employees. The company will provide severance pay, benefits continuation and outplacement assistance to employees.

“The decision to permanently close the Lancaster mill was extremely difficult because of the effect it has on our employees,” stated James Harrell, division vice president and general manager, Paper North America. “The economic recession has continued to weaken demand for uncoated recycled paperboard in North America which is forcing us to take additional steps to align our production capacity to match changing market realities.”

The capacity from Sonoco’s remaining mill system will be utilized to meet its customers’ supply needs. Since mid-2008, the company has discarded about 150,000 tons of annual uncoated recycled paperboard production capacity by closing mills in Rockton, Ill., Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and a small specialty machine in Holyoke, Mass.