Toward a circular society

One of our largest challenges in our work to contribute to a circular society is the responsible handling of production and post-consumer waste. SCA has adopted a new and ambitious target for production waste and has launched a service to recycle paper towels.

Paper bin (photo)

One challenge is that SCA’s hygiene product portfolio primarily comprises disposable products. It is difficult to find business models that include the efficient collection of used products or a technology that separates the different materials used in the products in a way that creates new, attractive, recycled materials. Material recycling of baby diapers and incontinence products, for example, is complicated by concerns about used products not being hygienic. This is an obstacle that must be overcome to ensure that SCA continues to be a relevant company in a sustainable and circular society and we are working intensively to find new solutions.

A new waste target

Distribution of production waste 2016

Distribution of production waste 2016 (pie chart)Distribution of production waste 2016 (pie chart)

Production at our sites should not generate waste. Everything should be taken care of as part of an efficient ecocycle.

The new target states that materials and energy should be recovered from waste from all production units by 2030. In practice, this means we need to find new ways for an additional 600,000 tons of waste. Nothing should be sent to landfill after 2030.

19 units already report zero production waste. The new target will require a series of measures to find suitable ways to recover SCA’s various types of waste. Waste management is relatively local – circumstances are different depending on the type of waste and infrastructure for waste management. The new solutions must also be adapted to local conditions.

19 sites with zero production waste in 2016: Ortmann, Austria; Stembert, Belgium; Drummondville, Canada; Le Theil, France; Kostheim, Neuss and Witzenhausen, Germany; Hoogezand and Suameer, Netherlands; Valls, Spain; Manchester, UK; Bollsta, Gällö, Lilla Edet, Mölnlycke, Rundvik and Tunadal, Sweden; Istanbul 1 and 2, Turkey

New service for recycling paper towels (illustration)New service for recycling paper towels (illustration)

New life for paper towels

SCA and its brand Tork have made it their responsibility to convert the environmental ambitions of customers into concrete measures and results. The latest contribution is a new and unique service for recycling paper towels from customers such as large offices, universities and airports. Until now, it has been difficult to recycle hand towels, mainly because of hygiene requirements and technical barriers.

The new service means that hand towels are collected from customers and sent to a local SCA mill to be transformed into new paper products. In 2016, two pilot projects were conducted in Germany and the Netherlands with highly favorable results. The service will be offered to more customers in 2017.

The recycling service is an important contribution to a more circular and sustainable society.

Creped soft paper which is the basis for hygiene products such as napkins, toilet paper and towels, and toweling products for institutions, hotels, etc.