Circular economy

Smurfit Kappa: 27 million euros for sustainability at Spanish paper mill in Nervión


Smurfit Kappa is investing a whopping €27 million in a new state-of-the-art waste management and recovery facility at the Nervión paper mill in Iurreta, Spain. The investment will enable the mill to adopt a fully circular production process that includes the largest landfill reduction project Smurfit Kappa has undertaken to date to support the achievement of its 2025 sustainability commitments.

The lime kiln and gas treatment system will have a production capacity of 120 tons of lime per day and offer significant environmental benefits. The new circular system will allow calcium carbonate waste currently generated in the plant’s production process to be transformed into lime and later reintroduced into the production process as a raw material.

This will have a positive impact on the plant’s carbon footprint, diverting 75 thousand tons of waste from the landfill and eliminating about 450 thousand kilometers per year of road transportation.

The initiative was developed in a collaborative process between Smurfit Kappa Nervión and several technology companies. The investment includes the expansion and optimization of the plant, as well as the construction of a state-of-the-art lime kiln and gas treatment system.

The treatment system complies with European Parliament Directive 2010/75/EU, which regulates industrial emissions. The new plant will also be connected to the automated monitoring system already in place for the rest of the plant’s facilities, in accordance with the requirements of the Basque government’s Environmental Department.

“We are pleased with the installation of this industry-leading system, which will help our paper mill become more sustainable and environmentally friendly,” comments Javier Rivas, Smurfit Kappa COO for Paper&Board Europe. “At Smurfit Kappa we are very focused on new ways we can integrate circularity into our business, particularly when we talk about the manufacturing process.”

“This investment marks Smurfit Kappa’s clear commitment to the Nervión paper mill, with more than 75 million euros invested in the plant over the past decade. The new lime kiln system will enable us to be even more efficient and sustainable, benefiting our employees and the communities in which we operate,” says Rafael Sarrionandia, general manager of Smurfit Kappa Nervión and CEO of Kraft Specialties Spain. “The investment reaffirms our clear commitment to act sustainably, to become increasingly circular as a site and, at the same time, to secure the long-term future of the plant.” The project is nearing completion and the plant is expected to be fully operational later this year.