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A strong commitment to a sustainable future

For 90 years, we have been producing cartonboard, and for 90 years, we have been using recycled materials for this purpose. Sustainable business practices have been our focus from the start and continue to thread through our company history like a red line. We place particular emphasis on efficient resource use, in which we aim to take a leading role in Europe. Our 2022 Sustainability Report captures our key milestones and objectives.

Circular economy at WEIG

The circular economy is the principle we follow in all our processes and at all our locations. For instance, we utilise biogas generated from waste water treatment for energy production, thereby saving on fossil primary energy sources. We also think and act in cycles when it comes to other raw materials and services.

Valuable raw material: waste paper

Waste paper is a vital raw material for us, crucial for sustainable business practices. Annually, through WEIG-Recycling, we process over 1,000,000 tonnes of waste paper in Germany and about 90,000 tonnes in Paraguay.

We close the material loop of paper through our own business units. The waste paper usage rate for all our products, in terms of the pulp mass, is about 100 percent. This allows the products to be reused as raw material in cartonboard production. Fresh fibres are used only in minimal amounts – and then from sustainable, certified forestry.

We cover our entire demand for waste paper through WEIG-Recycling, for example, by taking over waste paper from municipal collections. With our packaging company WEIG-Packaging, we produce folding boxes for daily necessities and tubes, using up to 80 percent of cartonboard from our own production.

Water use rather than water consumption

In terms of water consumption, too, the recycling cartonboard we produce is resource-efficient. We always aim to use water rather than consuming it. Thus, we only need about four litres of fresh water per kilogram of cartonboard for our production, which is significantly below the industry average.

A key factor in continuously reducing water consumption is that we operate a long circulation system for the water in our manufacturing process before biologically cleaning it and returning it to the natural cycle. Our own waste water treatment plant in Mayen has a cleaning capacity of 10,500 m³ per day – equivalent to the water usage of a large city of about 650,000 people. The recycled water currently covers about 35 percent of our total water needs. We also pursue this approach internationally, as the company KARTOTEC in Paraguay, part of the WEIG Group, has facilities for physical and biological treatment of produced waste water.

High-level energy efficiency

The production process for cartonboard requires both electrical energy (electricity) for motor operation and thermal energy (steam) for drying the cartonboard web. We generate this energy in our own power plant using the principle of combined heat and power. The 50 to 60 °C warm exhaust air from the production process is not usable for us anymore but is ideally suited for heating public buildings and private homes. Therefore, we feed this waste heat into the district heating network of the city of Mayen, indirectly contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions by about 6,200 tonnes per year. By utilising contaminants delivered with waste paper, we also save fossil primary energy sources.

At our locations in Paraguay, we exclusively use biomass such as eucalyptus wood chips and coconut shells for heat generation. The electricity is 100 percent hydro-powered. Thus, our energy supply there is already based 100 percent on renewable energies.

Reduced carbon footprint

Over the past few years, we have been able to significantly reduce the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). Where possible, transportation is also timed in cycles. After delivering cartonboard products to our customers, our drivers are encouraged to collect waste paper at nearby points and return it to production. We realise this with our own logistics company.

A secure working environment

With WEIG-Karton and WEIG-Recycling, we are a significant employer in the Mayen region, providing around 800 direct and several hundred indirect jobs at suppliers and service providers.

Our employees: the heart of WEIG

Our goal is to offer our workforce meaningful jobs and the opportunity to develop according to their abilities and talents. This ambition is reflected in our mission statement: driven by care. Thus, we promote the continuous qualification of our employees through an extensive range of training and further education measures. Flexible working hours and the option to work from home enable our employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Workplace safety

The safety of our employees at WEIG is of utmost priority. Our overarching vision is clear: zero work accidents. Since the year 2000, we have reduced the number of reportable accidents by more than 38 percent, despite increasing production volumes and a growing workforce over the same period.


True to our mission statement “driven by care,” the wellbeing of our employees is close to our hearts. Therefore, we strive to promote their health through comprehensive health management. Throughout the year, we offer them training and courses on health-related topics, such as a regularly scheduled back school, (cooking) courses on “healthy eating,” or partnerships with local gyms. In addition, we regularly organise preventative medical check-ups for our workforce.


Key next steps include further structural integration of sustainability initiatives into the subsidiary companies, as well as the continued development of our climate strategy 2024.

Sustainability at WEIG: not merely a momentary concern

Would you like to know more about the levers we are pulling at WEIG daily to become even more sustainable? Our 2022 sustainability report provides a comprehensive overview.

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