June 8, 2009
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
Like most everyday small items, the humble paper napkins hardly ever get the credit they deserve—unless, of course, they suddenly become conspicuous by their absence or poor quality.
Which is perfectly fine for the 100-plus employees at the 200,000-square-foot Cascades Tissue Group – Laval manufacturing plant just outside of Montreal, where the company produces the North River brand of compostable, biodegradeable and 100-percent recyclable paper napkins used across Canada by fast-food restaurants and eateries.
“Just imagine having a meal of chicken wings with barbecue sauce without having a napkin to clean up: that’s where our plant fits in,” says Maté Mrvica, manager of the busy Laval facility that is part of the 14-plant Cascades Tissue Group, which runs manufacturing and converting operations on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
“Our plant is uniquely well-positioned to concentrate on manufacturing and converting paper napkins for the restaurant industry,” Mrvica told Canadian Packaging in a recent interview, adding that the highly specialized nature of the product made in Laval provides its customers with plenty of branding opportunities—through application of color inks, embossing, stamping and other value-added paper converting processes—to create products that are uniquely their own.
With manufacturing sustainability and environmental awareness being such hot current industry topics, the Laval plant is understandably doing brisk business these days, according to Mrvica.
“North River not only exceeds the most stringent environmental standards, but is also certified by the largest number of independent environmental auditing organizations in the industry,” says Mrvica, adding that the Laval plant employs a completely chlorine-free process to manufacture the North River range of napkins, while also using six time less water than the Canadian industry average.
Naturally, keeping the tissues made there clean from start of production right through to customer delivery is a paramount priority at the Laval plant, which boasts full HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certification for food contact safety.