$23 million investment in the future of New Zealand manufacturing

The New Zealand Parliament has recently passed history-making legislation to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

The progressive attitude to sustainability and business in New Zealand is one of interdependence – each must be beneficial to the other. This is certainly the case with a number of Kiwi manufacturers including Asaleo Care in Kawerau, manufacturer of Tork Professional Hygiene products.

Nine years ago, the Kawerau manufacturing site replaced gas-fired steam production with naturally occurring geothermal steam through a partnership with local Iwi and Ngata Tuwharatoa Geothermal Assets. This has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent.

In the latest commitment to local manufacturing and sustainable business, Tork has invested $23 million at the Kawerau site, decommissioning four old converting lines and replacing them with one new state-of-the-art machine. This investment will deliver improved efficiencies, improved product quality, reduce waste and will ensure continued reliable local supply of Tork products.

The new machine will produce a significant quantity of both toilet paper and towel, with top speed and efficiency. This new speed and efficiency obviously takes some powering. The good news is that life cycle analysis has calculated Tork products are produced with between 65 to 76 percent renewable energy at Kawerau thanks to the use of geothermal steam and the high percentage of renewables in the New Zealand grid.

A significant part of the project was to refresh the Tork conventional toilet roll range to meet customer demand. Conventional toilet rolls are the largest category in the B2B toilet paper market. At the end of 2019, Tork will be introducing a premium conventional toilet roll with 400 sheets and early next year will add an individually wrapped 700-sheet roll.

These new products will also feature a brand new emboss leaf pattern. After extensive research, the final design was chosen to lift the quality of the product and to clearly demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability.

Rochelle Lake, Head of Marketing, B2B has been instrumental in the introduction of the new look. She said, “First responses from customers and potential customers about the stylish new emboss, have been overwhelmingly positive. Expect to see the new Tork emboss in high-quality establishments very soon.”

Other environmental benefits from this project include a reduction in packaging. With a strong focus on packaging waste in the market, the most responsible thing businesses can do is to reduce the amount they produce. This project has enabled Tork to reduce packaging by a whopping 20 percent – creating 143 tonnes less packaging waste per year. Savings have come from all areas – cores, inner packs and outer packs.

Additional changes to packaging are the introduction of carry handles to the Jumbo, Mini Jumbo and Conventional Toilet Paper, Roll Towel and Centrefeed product ranges. Tork is the first in the B2B market to offer ergonomic carry handles which safeguard employee wellbeing.

Striking a balance between the environment and commercial enterprise is always a challenge. We need to have businesses that are willing to invest in the future in sustainable ways. Supporting these types of business is the next step.

For more information visit www.tork.co.nz


The new Tork converting machine:

  • $23 million investment
  • The machine upgrade project has been 4 years in the making
    – 142 people were involved in the installation and commissioning of the new machine
    – It took 37 shipping containers to deliver the new machine to Kawerau
  • Will produce both toilet paper and towel

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