WestRock – Business Spotlight
It’s time for another business spotlight! We’re excited to feature WestRock and its Covington mill, as well as the impact the company makes in our region. Learn more below!
WestRock’s Covington, Virginia mill is North America’s largest bleached paperboard mill. It began production in 1899 and has been in continuous operation since that time.
The Covington site is in a great location, close to I-64, Highway 220, Virginia’s ports and within a day’s drive of 50% of the nation’s population. The mill is also adjacent to the main east-west line of the CSX Transportation Railroad. The property stretches nearly a mile and a half along the Jackson River and sits on 250 acres with at least another 2,000 adjoining acres behind it. Overall, the Covington site is ideally located due to its ﬁber supply, low-cost energy, and access to major user markets for products.
Surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, the largest hardwood forest in the world, the mill uses 80% hardwood ﬁber for its furnish. Fifty-three percent of this ﬁber is purchased in the form of pulpwood (also called roundwood), and 47% is purchased as chips from area sawmills. Our leftover wood waste is purchased from local loggers for biomass fuel for the power boiler. The wood is sourced in roughly a 150-mile radius around the mill.
The Covington mill annually produces about 950,000 tons of paperboard. The products manufactured are either one-side or two-side coated in solid bleached sulfate board (SBS), which is used in folding cartons, ovenable containers and high-quality printing applications.
The mill pioneered the development of modern, low-density bleached board and is one of the world’s leading producers. Its products are sold all over the United States, as well as in 40 countries around the world, with approximately 30% of products are exported.
WestRock’s Covington mill currently employs about 985 people. Many work in shifts with the mill running seven days a week, 365 days a year, injecting roughly $328.4 million annually into the local economy. Additionally, the mill supports and donates just over $90,000 to local charities, community service activities, and fundraising projects annually. The company also donates through the WestRock Foundation when employees give their volunteer time to 501(c)(3) organizations.
The mill has been an integral part of both Covington and Alleghany Highlands for multiple generations and we are so grateful for their partnership and to have the company doing business in the Alleghany Highlands!
For more information about WestRock, visit: www.westrock.com