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Sustainability – it starts with conscious resource conservation

Today’s social and legislator calls are logical and consequent. For decades, mankind has been living beyond its means when it comes to the use of natural resources. If we want to give future generations a real chance, we must act now and become more sustainable in our businesses.

Natural resources: For the paper and cartonboard industry, these include, primarily, wood, resp. the pulp fibres extracted from wood, also referred to as cellulose. In Europe, these fibres come from sustainably farmed forests. Certification systems such as FSC, PEFC and others are used to monitor the cultivation and harvesting of these forests, tracking wood products throughout the value chain. By means of the recovered paper cycle these fibres are reused for the paper manufacturing.

Other significant natural resources include water and primary energy sources. Water is used to separate the cellulose fibres from lignin and other substances and for sheet formation as part of the paper making process. Water is reused in closed-loop systems or released into the atmosphere as vapour.

Electrical and thermal energy is generated in most paper factories in Europe as part of a combined heat and power process: a process with the highest efficiency values for generating energy. Natural gas is the primary energy source used for this, although the use of non-fossil components is increasing.

Less is more. “Reduce” is at the top of the “reduce – reuse – recycle” pyramid for a reason. Those who use less save resources – and that goes for the production of paper and cartonboard, too. Economical, efficient processes ensure both ecological sustainability and economical benefits, helping to support a company’s sustainable development.

“Reuse” is important but it has its limitations, especially in the packaging industry.

“Recycle” alongside “reuse” is therefore crucial. Here, the paper industry has been blazing the trail for decades: the return quota for waste paper in Europe is around 72% and in Germany it’s at its peak at 78% (source: Statista 2021).

Resource conservation the WEIG way: The consistent use of recovered paper for the manufacture of cartonboard is one of the building blocks of conscious resource conservation. This is how WEIG closes an important raw material loop and assumes responsibility for the reuse of its own products. Even when it comes to its water use, WEIG is committed to a loop system, reducing its freshwater consumption to far below the industry average. And it doesn’t stop there: WEIG also uses biogas and any waste products delivered with the recovered paper for thermal recovery as part of a combined heat and power process at its own gas power stations within its plants. This reduces the use of fossil primary energy and avoids transport emissions.

We are currently working on our Sustainability Report for 2020.
As soon as this is complete, we’d be happy to provide you with a copy. Speak to your contact person if you would like a copy.

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