The Louisiana Pacific Corp. announced yesterday that it would open a factory in Howard County that makes insulation out of waste newspapers.
The Portland, Ore.-based paper company said the plant will employ 30 people and have the capacity to produce 48,000 tons a year of Nature Guard, a gray, fluffy, fire-retardant-treated insulation used in attics and behind walls.
State and Howard County officials said yesterday that they were delighted with the decision, praising Louisiana Pacific for turning a community disposal problem -- disposing of newspapers -- into a business.
"This is good for the county because it solves the problem of what to do with the collected newspaper in an environmentally positive way and also creates jobs and expands our tax base," said Dyan Brasington, who is the economic development director for Howard County.
Though Louisiana Pacific will be eligible for state training assistance grants, neither the state nor the county offered the company incentives to open the plant here, officials said.
The plant could buy as much as 80 million pounds of waste newspaper a year, said Michael Hartnett, manager of the 18-month-old Weather Guard division that makes Nature Guard insulation.
The new plant, which will start up by the end of the year, will increase Louisiana Pacific's insulation production by more than a third, Mr. Hartnett said.
Louisiana Pacific is planning to expand marketing and sales of the insulation, he said. The company chose a 40,000-square-foot building in Howard County's Corridor Industrial Park near Savage because it wanted a site with access to plenty of waste newspaper that was also near the mid-Atlantic market, he said.
The local plant has gotten a long-term newspaper supply agreement with Browning-Ferris Industries.
The newsprint-based product insulates at least as well as competing fiberglass insulation, but costs about 30 percent less, Mr. Hartnett said.
Besides benefiting the environment by using newspaper that might otherwise go into landfills, he said Nature Guard has another advantage: "there is no itch or scratch," to the newsprint insulation.
Louisiana Pacific, which had sales of $2 billion last year, has 13,000 employees.