Construction work has begun on Essity’s paper recycling plant at the Prudhoe paper mill in the UK, after Northumberland County Council granted planning permission for construction in late 2022.
The company has indicated that the project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.
The work involves replacing the existing 50-year-old recycling plant with a new facility housing the latest paper recycling technology. Essity claims that this will reduce energy costs and increase capacity for the production of household tissue paper from recycled fibres. An essential part of the process is a modern pulper capable of handling different types of inferior material, including a significant amount of cardboard and printed material.
The aim of the investment is to reduce dependence not only on fresh pulp, but also on higher grades of recovered paper, such as office paper, the availability of which has decreased, and is expected to continue to decrease, due to digitisation. «The importance of this investment is clear» says Paul Oliver, program manager. «It will enable us to recycle lower quality paper and cardboard, improve our ability to separate plastic and metal contaminants, reduce waste sent to landfill and improve energy efficiency».
Essity said the project represents the mill’s largest financial investment since the installation of the second paper machine in the early 1980s. The work involves the total demolition of the existing Unifibres complex.
In the UK Essity has a paper mill at its integrated site in Manchester that produces paper and converts it into products such as Plenty and Cushelle toilet rolls, as well as own-brand labels for customers such as Asda and Tesco. The Skelmersdale mill produces premium quality tissue, while the other plants include one in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, and one in Flint, Wales.