International Company Is Investing $1B To Build Recycled Paperboard Plant in Waco

The announcement by Atlanta-based Graphic Packaging International is Waco's largest economic development announcement to date.

A Georgia-based maker of fiber-based consumer packaging has chosen Waco as the home of its newest manufacturing facility, which will be built to house its latest state-of-the-art coated recycled paperboard machine—a $1 billion investment over three years.

The city of Waco said the announcement by Atlanta-based Graphic Packaging International is Waco’s largest economic development announcement to date.

CEO Michael Doss

“We’re looking forward to joining the Waco community and working with the great talent base in the area,” Michael Doss, president and CEO of Graphic Packaging said in a statement. “We appreciate the strong support and engagement we received from the City of Waco and McLennan County as we conducted our site selection process.”

Doss noted that Waco is within the “Texas Triangle,” with Dallas-Fort Worth at the northern tip, Austin to the southeast, and San Antonio to the southwest. 

“Building a new recycled paperboard mill in Waco will enhance our ability to meet growing global demand for packaging made with recycled materials,” Doss added.

Turning ’15 million paper cups a day’ into recycled paperboard

Inside the Graphic Packaging International facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. [Video still: GPI]

“Another investment we’re going to make in Waco,” Doss said in an introductory video, “is an advanced recycling pulper that’s going to allow us to take somewhere around 15 million paper cups a day and clean that fiber up and turn it back into high-quality, low-cost coated recycled paper board.”

Facility will be in the heart of Waco’s largest industrial park

Rendering of $1B Graphic Packaging International facility to be built in Waco. [Video still: GPI]

Graphic Packaging manufactures fiber-based consumer packaging solutions for the world’s leading consumer product and foodservice companies. Its Waco facility will be in the heart of Waco’s largest industrial park, Texas Central Park, on Gateway Boulevard.

The company said that the 119-acre campus will be home to 640,000 square feet in production and warehousing facilities and will offer roughly 230 new jobs with an average annual salary of $65,000 and full benefits.

“After nearly a year of discussions with Graphic Packaging, we’re pleased to welcome them to Waco,” McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said in a statement. “A group of local leaders and I spent a good amount of time with the company’s executive team, and we visited one of their facilities. They are undoubtedly committed to health and safety and value the opportunities Waco offers for community partnerships.”

Graphic Packaging said that it is undertaking a significant capital investment to modernize and grow its CRB platform in response to consumer demand for more recycled materials in its packaging.

Company won 25 awards in 2022

Cardboard being recycled at Graphic Packaging International Kalamazoo facility. [Video still: GPI]

“We aim to lead the way when it comes to innovation in the paperboard space and this year’s awards will help us build our innovation momentum as we move into 2023.” Dan Ahern, Graphic Packaging’s director, global innovation and design said after the company garnered 25 awards for its work in 2022.

The company said the Waco investment will allow the company to upgrade its overall CRB capacity and take advantage of a rapidly growing recycled fiber-based packaging market.

The financial investment in Waco represents a regional economic development collaboration between the city of Waco, McLennan County, the Waco Industrial Foundation and the Greater Waco Chamber, all of which are strategically partnering to provide support for the project.

“I’m thrilled that Waco will have its first billion-dollar investment in the community,” said Waco Mayor Dillon Meek. “I’m thankful for the Graphic Packaging leadership team, who saw first-hand how our community comes together for the greater good, including workforce development and long-range infrastructure plans. Our community’s commitment to collaboration between local government, businesses, and education greatly benefits large and small businesses.”

Graphic Packaging Holding Co. has been named to Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for 2023. Graphic Packaging also was ranked No. 1 in its industry sector of packaging and containers.

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