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Contact information
Sabina Dhungana
Sabina Dhungana
Sector development specialist
608-261-0754

Kirsten Held
Kirsten Held
Sector development specialist
608-264-6036

Paper sector

Pulp mixture at Flambeau River Papers
Flambeau River Papers' environmental statement and Environmental Management System help integrate environmental protection into business processes and decisions.

Wisconsin's paper industry creates approximately 5.3 million tons of paper and 1.1 million tons of paperboard annually. The industry employs nearly 31,047 people, making the state the number one producer in the United States. Thousands of jobs are closely linked to Wisconsin's papermaking industry - including pulp, papermaking machines and printing industries. The paper industry remains crucial to Wisconsin's high quality of life.

The paper sector includes plants, factories and mills engaged in the mechanical or chemical transformation of organic materials or substances into paper products. Most businesses use power driven machines and equipment to convert the base papers into various forms of business and consumer products.

Wisconsin's paper industry has faced economic challenges with a reduced demand for paper products caused in part by a troubled economy, electronics age and competition from overseas. The manufacturing jobs created in Wisconsin by the paper industry are some of the highest paid jobs and account for seven percent of the manufacturing workforce. The long-term success of Wisconsin's pulp and paper industry has been the result of technological advances, the ability to adapt to changing markets, innovative corporate management teams, modernization programs and a quality workforce.

Sector development specialist

Flambeau River Papers Connie Antonuk and Herman Luedeke examine a pulp mixture at Flambeau River Paper mill in Park Falls, Wisconsin.

The DNR's paper sector development specialists, Sabina Dhungana and Kirsten Held see their role as building relationships to assist paper companies with meeting their environmental responsibilities while maintaining their production. Both Kirsten and Sabina want to encourage the paper sector to achieve superior environmental performance. They are available and willing to facilitate permitting discussions between paper manufacturers and DNR environmental staff and are also interested in helping paper manufacturers understand new environmental concerns.

Secondary industries

Convenient access to quality Wisconsin-made paper has fed the printing industry. Between the printing and paper industries in Wisconsin, more than 106,000 people are employed by pulp, paper and printing firms. Wisconsin is unique in having a "cluster" of allied industries residing in the state. Within a 100-mile radius of Green Bay, there are more paper mills than anywhere else in the United States. Wisconsin also has a high concentration of suppliers to the global paper industry. These include machine manufacturers as well as suppliers of other materials and chemicals to the paper industry.

Innovations in Wisconsin's papermaking industry range from thermal paper to new pop-up popcorn bag papers to paper made with bamboo fiber and products improved with the addition of nano-cellulose. These innovations and creative ideas allow Wisconsin's paper manufacturers to remain viable and competitive in a global marketplace.

Last revised: Wednesday November 15 2017