Making ash a recycling opportunity

Circular economy



Ashes to active ingredient

Just about everything that UPM does, no matter how innovative, starts in forests. The fibrous sidestreams that are left over from traditional forest industry processes can be used to generate biomass-based energy. This leaves its own sidestream: Ash.

Historically, ash may have simply ended up in landfill. But getting rid of it not only creates more waste – it also means missing out on a versatile material that has an ever-increasing array of end uses.



Uncovering new ways to reuse ash

UPM is committed to sending zero solid process waste to landfill by 2030. Ash’s role in the forest industry is a prime example of the circular economy in action. The most nutrient-rich ashes are turned into forest fertiliser and spread over the forest floor to replenish its original source.

Biomass-based fly-ash has widespread uses. Its high pH level makes it suitable for bleaching deinked pulp, thus reducing the need for heavy-duty chemical compounds. UPM has also developed Cinerit®, an ash-based soil stabilisation product. UPM ashes are also used as raw material in building blocks and in cement.



Making zero solid waste a reality

Currently over 90% of ash produced by UPM is reused across industries, ranging from road construction to forest fertiliser to paper production. One of the latest innovations the company has developed together with its partner Specialty Minerals Inc. is Envirofil®, an ash-based filler used in paper production. Exploration and analysis will continue until every last grain of ash from every UPM site can be used accordingly.


Ash recycling in biomass-based energy production

  • Over 90% of ash produced by UPM is reused
  • ELURIT is used to replace caustic soda to bleach deinked pulp
  • Cinerit® acts as soil stabiliser
  • ENVIROFIL® acts as filler in paper production
  • Uses in construction industry include building blocks and cement
  • Use as forest fertiliser
  • On course to achieve target of zero solid waste to landfill by 2030

ELURIT and ENVIROFIL, a breakthrough in recycling ash


Circular economy at UPM