Metsä Group’s mills are located by fresh water courses in the Nordics with the world’s richest water areas. Fresh water is one of our key assets as water is needed at every stage of pulp, board and paper production. We use this valuable raw material resource wisely. In spite of our abundant water resources, our goal is to intensify the use of process water and reduce the discharges into water courses. We also support the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals in clean water (SDGs No. 6).
Process water is effectively cleaned before released back to waterbodies
Did you know that over 99% of water we use is surface water from rivers and lakes? Approximately half of the water we take is used for cooling, whereby the water passes clean in its own system. Process waters are carefully cleaned using the Best Available Technique (BAT) as defined by the EU. Therefore, the water emissions of the Metsä Group are far below the maximum limits set in the BAT.
Mitigating climate change with wise water use
At the mills, use of water is monitored daily. Water is used as efficiently as possible: for instance, one litre of water goes around the paperboard mill up to 15 times. We have set a Group-wide target to reduce the use of process water per production tonne by 17% from the 2010 level by 2020. The target will be achieved by investing in to new technology, and by streamlining and optimising the processes. There is already evidence of a more efficient use of water since by 2016, as we have reduced the water use by 13% from 2010 at the Group level.
“As water is used effectively, the efficiency of production is improved and hence the energy consumption and the amount of waste water are reduced, which has a positive impact on the climate”, says Metsä Board's director of sustainability and energy Soili Hietanen.
For the second consecutive year, Metsä Board has been positioned as a global leader on the CDP Water A List for its responsible water use. The CDP also recognised Metsä Board's strategy against climate change (Climate A List). Reducing water use is an essential part of Metsä Board’s resource efficiency progamme, as it also improves the company’s energy and production efficiency.
Read below other examples from our business areas.
Metsä Fibre’s bioproduct mill, inaugurated during 2017, is at the world’s top what comes to energy, material and environmental efficiency. With the latest technology its water use will be low. This enables the mill to operate under the same emission limits as the pulp mill it replaces, even though the production will almost triple.
Metsä Fibre’s Kemi mill has succeeded in reducing the amount of clean process water use per product tonne by almost 30% since 2010. This has been achieved mainly with careful monitoring of water use and optimising temperatures in different parts of the process. This has enable the mill operators make numerous small improvements in the water consumption processes. This work has paid off in remarkable savings without major investments.
Metsä Tissue’s Katrinefors mill in Sweden is preparing improvements in the waste water treatment. The biological treatment unit of the plant will be replaced with a new two-stage moving bed bioreactor. This enhances water treatment and reduces the access of suspended solids and nutrients to the watercourse.
Metsä Group's process water use since 2011.