Flagstaff, AZ – SCA Tissue is laying off 17 people at its Flagstaff paper mill. The company blames recent economic trends. The mill will be shutting down one of its two paper-making machines and going to half capacity Friday. And as Arizona Public Radio's Laurel Morales reports the shutdown may have broader impacts on the city.
The machine shut down will likely affect the Flagstaff Cinder Lake Landfill. SCA provides about a hundred tons of paper sludge each day to the landfill for cover. The landfill uses the wet paper pulp to keep trash from blowing away and to keep ravens and other animals from getting into the trash and spreading disease. Other landfills use dirt or spray foam but Flagstaff doesn't have enough dirt or water for the foam.
The company says despite the temporary shut down they plan to fulfill their contractual obligations to the city.
Still the city is looking into back-up options like enormous tarps rolled out by bulldozers that could be costly.
The Philadelphia-based SCA Tissue produces toilet paper, napkins and facial tissues for what they call the "away from home" industry. That includes hotels, restaurants and office buildings. The company released a media statement saying that their industry has seen a softening in customer orders due to the weakened economy. Company officials say they have no plans of shutting down any other machines at this time.
SCA plans to reassess the need for the Flagstaff machine in December. When the machine is brought back online the laid off employees will have first dibs at their old jobs.