By-products are valuable raw materials

19 January 2015

A product’s lifecycle extends from raw materials and energy sources via production and distribution all the way to recovery and disposal of products.

UPM is the world’s third largest user of recovered paper in the production of graphic papers – around one third of UPM’s raw material is recycled fibre. Some new fibre must also be used because wood fibres cannot be recycled indefinitely. Recovered paper is only used if it is available close to the mill. Using mostly new fibres is the natural choice in countries with a small population or large forests. In 2013, UPM used around 3.5 million tonnes of recovered paper.

A source of new innovations

UPM’s Biofore strategy, which aims at efficient utilisation of resources, has given rise to major innovations – non-renewable raw materials have been replaced with renewable and recyclable materials. By-products that are valuable for the industry are generated when manufacturing self-adhesive label materials at the UPM Raflatac mills, in production for UPM’s label-printing customers and among the end users who label their products. The RafCycle concept ensures that these by-products are given a new life as the raw material of UPM ProFi wood-plastic composite, an energy source at UPM paper mills or a raw material in paper production. Previously, the by-products ended up in a combustion plant or landfill.

Tall oil becomes a biofuel

UPM BioVerno is an innovation developed by UPM. It involves refining tall oil, a by-product of the pulp manufacturing process, into a biofuel. By refining the crude tall oil, UPM is able to use the wood from pulp production more efficiently than before. The UPM Shotton mill in the UK is a good example of material efficiency and the utilisation of raw materials throughout their lifecycle. The mill processes 640,000 tonnes of recovered paper annually, and it also processes household waste, plastics and cans. Around 120,000 tonnes of the total 270,000 tonnes of recycled materials sorted at the mill are publication papers that the mill uses as a raw material for paper.

From waste to energy

A new pellet product, Fibrefuel, has been created as the result of cooperation between the Shotton mill and waste management experts. It is manufactured from paper fibres separated from wet waste. The pellets are turned into clean energy by burning them at the Shotton mill. UPM’s product development is based on ecodesign where the environmental impact and resource efficiency of new products are assessed right from the design stage.


Text Vesa Puoskari

UPM Biofore

Related Stories