Editorial: Monadnock Paper Mills takes the green path to success

The state of the economy has many people on heightened alert this election season, as they read about national politics and watch the televised ads, presidential debates and political commentary on the candidates. But there are some positive signs right here in the Monadnock region that point to green innovation as an avenue for economic recovery.

Monadnock Paper Mills is enjoying a renaissance of sorts as it churns out a renewable paper product designed to meet the packaging demands of some of the nation's big-name companies, including the Gap, Nike and Burt's Bees. The Bennington business has found some international markets for the product, too. We're told the recycled material is akin to plastic, but is actually made from wood fibers not used in papermaking.

David Lunati, the director of marketing at Monadnock Paper Mills, has said the trade-offs in going green aren't what they used to be. There was a time when turning to environmentally friendly solutions meant sacrificing aesthetic considerations as well as profit margin, but Lunati said that's not so anymore.

Monadnock Paper Mills launched the Envi Portfolio five years ago and has since expanded it from folding packing boxes to include cardstock, labeling, price tags, replacements for plastic packaging and plastic signage, gift cards and wall graphics.

Knowing the Envi line is made from recycled, postconsumer waste and/or renewable wood fiber is something both companies and consumers can feel good about. And there's no telling where the line could take the company in the future as the product becomes more and more in demand.

This is an example of a company building upon what they already do well, that is using energy from the Contoocook River and materials from a managed forest to develop renewable products. The Envi line is a step forward with a process that puts wood fibers extraneous to producing paper to work.

It sounds simple and obvious, but we know developing new products is the work of many minds and many years of initiative. It takes vision and persistence, and is not without some financial risk.

In the end, economic recovery for this region will be the result of multiple success stories like this one. It won't come from Washington, D.C., or even Concord.

It will come from innovative companies that follow consumers along the path to sustainability. As consumers, we set the agenda for businesses looking to attract our dollars. When they see sustainability as a key factor in our purchasing decisions, they put their significant engineering weight into coming up with solutions that are both environmentally friendly and cost effective.

That was certainly true in the case of Monadnock Paper Mills, and it will continue to be true for consumers in the Monadnock region and for those looking to attract their business.

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