Waste recycling in circular economy

​Around we go


We aim to become a Zero Solid Waste to Landfill company globally by 2030. This means that we deposit no production waste whatsoever at landfill sites and no production waste without efficient energy recovery.

For example, efficient papermaking means lower fibre and losses, better effluent treatment efficiency and less landfill waste. The water circulation of our paper machine is controlled, meaning that the water is circulated multiple times during the process.

UPM's wood plastic composite UPM ProFi is great example of how waste can be reused an alternative to landfill disposal.

UPM BioVerno, our second generation biofuel, is a good example how to use the residues from pulp production to create a new product.


Wood-based side streams efficiently utilised in energy production at UPM

Waste management aims at effective reuse

All UPM’s mills actively strive to reduce the volume of solid waste and to improve handling by sorting the waste at source.

A large part of our process waste is utilised as raw material. Over the past years, we have significantly reduced the volume of solid waste deposited landfill sites thanks to increased reuse and higher efficiency in our production processes. We are constantly developing new reuse ideas.

Innovative utilisation of by-products and waste plays an important role in waste management at all UPM sites.

The fact remains, however that today not all waste can be re-used. If there is no re-use option we dispose of residual solid waste responsibly at landfills operated by our mills or by trusted external operators. All UPM-owned landfills are monitored for environmental impact as required by permits and regulations issued by the relevant authorities.

Ash residues from bioenergy production form 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 2018, 94% of our ash was reused. 

Our plywood and timber mills use of raw materials as efficiently as possible. We utilise wood by-products such as bark, sawdust and woodchips for pulp, chipboard, cardboard and energy generation. We generate only a marginal quantity of landfill waste.


Waste streams at UPM mills include the following

​Main waste fractions Source Usage or disposal
Ash - Power plants - Most of the ash is utilized in earth works, as a fertilizer or in the cement and brick industry
- Only a small fraction is taken to landfills
Organic process waste such as bark and fibre residues and fibre sludge - Wood and recovered paper processing, effluent treatment - Mainly used as fuel by mill power plants
- Fibrous residues which are not incinerated are reused, for example, composted or used in soil improvement and earth work
​Other process waste such as coating colour waste and green liquor dregs - Coating of paper, chemical pulping - A large proportion is reused, e.g. in the construction industry and in soil improvement
- The rest is mainly landfilled
​Other solid waste - Recovered paper processing, label production, packaging of incoming materials (mainly metal, board or plastic waste) ​- Sorted and utilized as a raw material whenever possible, e.g. UPM Profi
- Non-usable waste fractions taken to landfill sites or municipal waste incineration plants
Hazardous wastes - Maintenance (mainly oil or oil
contaminated equipment)
- Forwarded to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities
- Compliance with relevant statutory requirements

UPM ProFi celebrates 10 years as a circular pioneer


Zero Solid Waste project continues – No more solid waste to landfills from UPM Plywood and UPM Timber in Finland