Hemp bast manufacturer buys NC pulp plant from Georgia-Pacific

A Canadian company that makes natural nonwoven fibers has bought a North Carolina plant from pulp-and-paper giant Georgia-Pacific.

Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. says it plans to expand the Lumberton Cellulose factory from making wood-pulp-derived hygienic products such as tissues and toilet paper to also making similar products from hemp and flax.

A purchase price was not disclosed for the factory in Lumberton, about 80 miles west of Wilmington.

A BFT spokeswoman told Hemp Industry Daily the facility would retain its 25 or so employees and transition them to working with hemp and flax.

“What this does is bring some sustainable supply for North America growers of hemp,” Larisa Harrison said.

BFT has been working with Georgia-Pacific for some time. Two years ago, BFT licensed a suite of patents relating to bast fibers in a variety of nonwoven products and processes from Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products.

Bast fiber comes from the inner bark of the bast family group of plants, including hemp, flax, jute and kenaf. Nonwoven materials are made with fibers that are bonded with chemicals, solvents or heat.

BFT is based in Victoria, British Columbia, and is privately held.