All that remains of the Chesapeake Paperboard Co. complex today is the water tower. The site is now known as McHenry Row, a 90,000 square foot mixed use development project that contains 250 luxury apartments, offices, and street level shops at the end of Woodall Avenue.
From 1910 until the company's closure in the mid-1990s, Chesapeake Paperboard was the sole recycler of paper waste from Baltimore City's curbside recycling program, processing over 15,000 tons of paper waste annually. The company processed this paper waste into pulp, then into paperboard which it would then export to other manufacturers. Paperboard is the harder, less flexible cousin to regular printer paper. Lightweight and strong, paperboard can most easily be found in consumer product packaging. One of the most recognizable examples of paperboard are breakfast cereal boxes.
The Chesapeake Paperboard Company was acquired in 2005 by Green Bay Packaging and moved operations to Hunt Valley. Today, the Baltimore Division of Green Bay Packaging produces plain brown and color printed cardboard boxes for companies in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. The Baltimore Division is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Maryland Green Registry.
As with so many changes in technology, there are both pros and cons to recycling modernization. The loss of this local industry impacts job opportunities here in South Baltimore, but an upgraded recycling infrastructure means a cleaner, greener world for all. The give and take of advancing technology, changing consumer tastes and policy and regulation is rarely as simple as it looks at first glance.