​​​​Cha​llenging ourselves in the recycling and reuse of waste

For us, yesterday’s waste is today’s raw material. We already reuse or recycle most of our production waste, and we are constantly striving to develop innovative new solutions. When it comes to recovered paper, we are proud to say that we are the world’s largest user of it in the production of graphic papers.

Reuse of sawdust
Recycled fibre
Reuse ELURIT ash

Thinking out of the box for less waste and more recycling and reuse

We are committed to maximising the reuse of materials and minimising the generation of waste.

Nearly all organic production residues, including bark and wood residues, as well as fibre-containing solids from de-inking and effluent treatment, are used in energy generation at mill sites. Today, 89% of our production waste is reused or recycled.

Landfilling solid waste has the most significant environmental impact in waste management. The environmental impact of mill landfill sites is monitored for compliance with permits and regulations issued by the local environmental authorities.We use wood-based waste such as bark, fibre residues and fibre sludge as fuel at our mill power plants. Fibrous residues that are not incinerated are reused, for example composted or used in soil construction. UPM reuses about 90% of the residues from recovered paper processing such as fibres, fillers and printing inks as fuel in the mills’ combined heat and power plants.


UPM Raflatac’s waste management concept RafCycleTM aims to create a sustainable recycling solution for the waste generated throughout the whole labelstock life cycle.

UPM Shotton MRF

The UPM Shotton mill in the UK provides a good example of material efficiency and shows how to utilise raw materials at all phases of their life cycle.


UPM's construction product Cinerit is made of fly ash from the thermal recovery of biogenic waste materials.

UPM BioVerno

UPM BioVerno is a renewable diesel that can be directly used in all diesel engines. It is derived from crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production.

Yesterday's waste is today's raw material   

Ash resulting from bioenergy production forms the most significant proportion of UPM’s solid waste. Currently, 96% of the ash is being used in areas such as earthwork operations, the cement and brick industry, or as a fertilizer. We analyse ash composition thoroughly before it is reused. The remainder is taken to landfill sites.

A good example of our out-of-the-box thinking is our  fly ash-based innovation, ELURIT, which can be used at the pulping and bleaching stages of the papermaking process. Another example, the construction product Cinerit, is based on the fly ash that comes from the thermal recovery of waste materials.

Two other examples of our innovative products based on the use of waste or residuals from our own production are the UPM ProFi wood plastic composite products and the renewable diesel UPM BioVerno. UPM ProFi wood plastic composite products are made from the surplus paper and plastic left over from the production of self-adhesive label materials.

The world's largest user of recovered paper in paper making

UPM consumes some 2.6 million tonnes (2017) of recovered paper for the production of graphic papers. Recycled fibre accounts for one third of all fibre used in UPM’s paper production.

The plywood and timber mills make efficient use of raw materials. We utilise wood by-products, such as bark, sawdust and sawmill chips, for pulp and paper making, chipboard production and energy generation. The amount of landfill waste created is marginal. We are always looking for opportunities to recycle or recover products at the end of their life cycle.

We forward hazardous waste, such as oil or oil-contaminated equipment, to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities in compliance with relevant statutory requirements.

Well-organised sorting is key to effective recycling

The use of recovered paper as a raw material also depends on having well-organised sorting and collecting systems. The way paper is collected at a regional level depends on national and regional legislation. Recovered paper is an essential raw material for UPM, and we want to safeguard the availability and quality of it by co-operating with communities and wastepaper companies.

Offices and individual households play an important role when it comes to increasing and improving the quality of recovered paper. Most paper, including used newspapers, cardboard, packaging, stationery, direct mail, magazines, catalogues, greetings cards, envelopes and wrapping paper, can be recycled.

May 16, 2017

Around we go – the shape of future waste management is circular

As we move toward a waste-free future, the challenges of waste management can only be solved by open, cross-industrial partner networks. UPM will end the disposal of waste at landfills in Finland within a couple of years. The same target will apply globally by 2030. To reach this target, UPM works together with its waste management partners to promote the circular flow of side streams.