Resource efficiency is at the core of UPM's Biofore strategy. We aim to use valuable and renewable forest biomass as responsibly and efficiently as possible. The circular economy is a new economic model in which materials and value circulate and added value is generated by services and smart operations.
In the forest industry, the circular economy might sound like nothing more than a new name for the operating model that we have been developing for years. However, on a wider scale, the circular way of thinking creates new business opportunities for us as it combines environmental and economic targets.
Reducing the amount of solid waste and increasing reuse are key objectives at all of our mills.
Nearly all organic production residues, including bark and wood residues, as well as fibre-containing solids from deinking and effluent treatment, are used in energy generation at mill sites. Today, approximately 89% of UPM’s production waste is reused or recycled.
UPM is the world’s largest user of recovered paper for the production of graphic paper, consuming 2.6 million tonnes of recovered paper in 2017.
At UPM, one third of all fibre used in our paper production is recycled fibre.
The different wood-based waste side streams from UPM mills are already well utilised in energy production in the mills’ own boilers. The recycling of wood to energy presents a challenge only when the wood waste is moist and contains particles of metal or stone. UPM is now developing the methods in which these side streams are handled as the company reaches for a Zero Solid Waste to Landfill status in all its operations first in Finland and globally by 2030.
All UPM’s mills make efforts to reduce the volume of solid waste and to improve handling by sorting the waste at source.
A large part of the process waste is utilised either as raw material or in energy generation. The volume of solid waste taken to landfill sites has decreased significantly over the past years as a result of higher efficiency in production processes and increased opportunities for reuse. UPM is constantly developing new reuse opportunities.
Developing the utilisation of by-products and waste plays an important role in waste management at all UPM sites. By-products and waste can be valuable as raw materials or a source of energy.
However, not all waste can be re-used. If no re-use option can be found, residual solid waste has to be disposed of, e.g. at landfills operated by the mills themselves or by external operators. Landfill sites for depositing solid waste account for the most significant environmental impact in waste management. All UPM-owned landfills, both closed and in use, are being monitored for environmental impact in accordance with permits and regulations issued by the relevant authorities.
Ash resulting from bioenergy production forms the most significant proportion of UPM’s solid waste. Ash is used on a large scale in applications ranging from landscaping to road building. In 2017, 96% of ash was reused.
The plywood and timber mills make efficient use of raw materials. We utilise wood by-products such as bark, sawdust and woodchips for pulp, chipboard, cardboard and energy generation. The amount of landfill waste created is marginal.
The volume of solid waste taken to landfill sites from UPM pulp and paper mills has decreased significantly over the past years as a result of higher efficiency in production processes and increased opportunities for reuse. We utilise major parts of the production waste as raw materials or in energy generation.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, UPM ProFi demonstrates how the circular economy works in practice by producing new, innovative materials and products from recycled side streams.
UPM Plywood and UPM Timber in Finland are the first businesses to have reached the tight recycling target set by the Zero Solid Waste project. The company aims to send zero waste to landfill operations globally by 2030.