Acting sustainably and closing material loops have been firmly anchored in the DNA of the WEIG Group for more than 90 years: from the very beginning, we have produced our cartonboard on the basis of recycled fibres. Today more than ever, we are striving to reduce our ecological footprint. We also want to offer our employees a safe and meaningful working environment. In our Sustainability Report 2021, we have set out our key milestones and goals.
For WEIG, fibre-based recyclable packaging is not a short-lived trend, but our long-term, strategic core business. We see recycled cartonboard as an alternative to plastic in many areas and as a resource-saving packaging material of the future.
Every day we produce 2,000 t of cartonboard for folding boxes and plasterboard on our two board machines. Our products consist of almost 100 % recycled fibres. For this purpose, we receive about 100 truckloads of recovered paper every day, which we primarily source regionally. We work closely with retailers, businesses, and industry to collect recovered paper. In addition, we recycle the household paper from the waste paper bin, which is collected by the municipalities and districts in the region. In this way, we use short transport routes and avoid unnecessary emissions.
Our cartonboard is used, among other things, to make folding boxes for the food sector, for example for frozen pizzas or baked goods, but also for non-food products. Via the retail and the end consumer, this packaging ends up back in the waste paper bin and is processed by us again. You can find out more about WEIG’s complete services along the entire paper cycle here.
But not only in our handling of fibres, but also beyond that, we strive to close resource cycles. That is why it is also our goal to use less and less fresh water in cartonboard production. The water is reused several times in our cycles until it is finally purified in our own two-stage biological water treatment plant and then returned to nature.
With less than four litres of fresh water per kilogramme of cartonboard, our water consumption is significantly lower than the industry average. This is not least due to our modern water management. We constantly invest in the modernisation and expansion of our water treatment plant in order to use less fresh water and thus conserve the important resource of water.
The paper industry is one of the most energy-intensive sectors. This makes it all the more important for us to reduce our energy consumption with the help of modern plants and efficient energy management. We have already been able to reduce our total energy demand by 13 % over the past one and a half decades.
We generate the thermal and electrical energy needed for production in our own power plant based on the highly efficient cogeneration principle. The main primary energy source is natural gas. While other power plants that generate electricity, such as coal, have an efficiency of about 50 % and release a large part of the generated heat into the environment, the efficiency of our power plant is over 85 %.
In our integrated residue incineration plant, we recycle the residues from recovered paper processing, such as plastic windows or adhesive materials, as well as unusable fibres. Together with the biogas from our water treatment plant, we already cover 30 % of our primary energy needs from non-fossil sources – and expect to increase this number in the future.
We want to make the manufacture of our products as environmentally friendly as possible. From 2016 to 2019 alone, we were able to significantly reduce the product carbon footprint: for folding boxboard by 15 % and for plasterboard by as much as 22 %. We have set ourselves the goal of continuously reducing our product carbon footprint in the coming years.
Our aim is to create a safe and modern working environment with meaningful activities for our employees. Since 2000, we have been able to significantly reduce the number of accidents that are subject to report – despite increased production volumes and rising employee numbers. We are striving to get even closer to our goal of “zero accidents” through comprehensive occupational safety measures.
As an employer, long-term and sustainable thinking is also essential for us. We train our employees in technical and leadership skills. We were awarded the “Fair Company” seal for our commitment to junior staff.
Would you like to learn more about how we at WEIG are working every day to become even more sustainable? Then download our Sustainability Report 2021 here.
WEIG Sustainability Report 2021
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