The Swedish tissue giant has been keen to cut its dependence on virgin wood fibre, which it uses to make its products, following a dramatic drop in waste paper supplies
“The significance of this investment cannot be overstated,” says Paul Oliver, Project Management Director at Essity. “It will enable us to recycle lower-grade paper and board, enhance our ability to segregate plastic and metal contaminants, reduce waste sent to landfill, and improve energy efficiency.
“Our old Unifibres facility was at the end of its working life and this scale of investment helps secure the future of the mill, helps us to continue meeting demand for our products such as Cushelle, Velvet and Tork and, importantly, provides a more attractive and safer working environment for employees.”
Building work has started on Essity‘s 50-year-old paper recycling plant at Prudhoe Mill in the UK after the Northumberland County Council granted planning permission at the end of 2022.
One important goal of the investment is to reduce the dependency not only on fresh fibre pulp but also on higher recovered paper grades like office papers, the availability of which has been decreasing, and is expected to continue to decrease, due to digitalisation.
The new site is designed to house the latest in paper recycling technology to reduce energy costs and increase its ability to make household products from recycled fibre.
As part of the development, its existing Unifibres complex will be completely demolished, and four replacement buildings will be constructed towards the centre of the site.
Completion of the £30m project expected to take place by late 2025. It represents the single biggest investment across any of Essity‘s six UK sites in the last 10 years.