Interior of a pulp mill showing the network of pipes used to process raw materials into pulp.Rumpelstiltskin may have known how to spin straw into gold, but a new plant being built in Washington State knows something about spinning straw into gold too.

Technically, it’s pulp, but the new $184 million pulp mill near Dayton promises to be a gold mine economically for Columbia Pulp and the local economy.

Located on a 449-acre site along the Snake River, the new pulp mill will be able to turn wheat and alfalfa straw into pulp for making paper or packaging that used to require wood-based byproducts.

Located in the heart of wheat country, the mill will pull its raw materials from a 75-mile radius of the plant, turning straw that was once burned in fields into pulp. The plant can handle up to 250,000 tons of straw, processing it into pulp for paper towels, tissue, disposable cups, cartons and plates. The material is fully biodegradable.

The technology was developed by Sustainable Fiber Technologies in Renton, Washington, thanks to research that originated at the University of Washington.

For this rural community, the plant will mean 100 new jobs when it opens this fall, a very welcomed addition to the local economy.

Read more in the Tacoma Weekly.