Metsä Group is continuously seeking new ways to utilize its production side streams instead of sending them to landfill sites or storing them in its mill areas for long periods of time. The Group's side streams are used to replace virgin raw materials in a broad range of applications. In the process, materials that were previously regarded as waste are converted into added-value by-products thus contributing to the circular economy.
Metsä Group utilizes nearly 100% of its wood-based production side streams, of which some 50% are used to produce electricity or steam for energy on-site. Around 40% are used as forest or field fertilisers, in landscaping, as industrial raw materials, and in earthworks engineering and landfill construction. Utilizing side streams can significantly reduce the environmental effects of the final disposal of waste and save natural resources. The prices of recycled materials made from side streams are competitive in comparison to natural materials.
The following are examples of current utilization of our side streams and waste:
Let's go skiing!
Snowmaking imposes a significant cost and environmental impact on ski resorts. The Äänemäki ski slope in Äänekoski, Finland, was reshaped using fibre clay to reduce the need for artificial snow. This benefits both the resort owner through decreased snowmaking expenses and the environment through reduced water and electricity consumption.
Surplus lime from pulp production improves the structure and fertility of fields
The pulp production processes at Metsä Fibre's mills generate around 20,000 tonnes of surplus lime mud annually, most of which is used in the process or exchanged among Metsä Group's mills. Until now, this surplus lime has been stored temporarily at the mills or sent to landfill sites. However, lime mud has been proven to be a good liming material.
Our local cooperation partners sell and deliver the lime mud surplus generated by our mills to farmers. The use of lime mud as a field fertiliser has already produced good results.
Sandy bark can be used as mulch
The storage and debarking of wood generate around 14,000 tonnes of sandy bark, which be used as mulch or as a fuel when screened. It has been used as a cover layer for extensive areas, such as ski slopes and motor-racing tracks, as well as for landscaping in landfill sites. It has also been used as a covering material on sports fields.
Roads from ash
For a long time, ash has been used to build durable, load-bearing roads, mainly in industrial and storage areas. Although this has been a lasting and sustainable choice, improvements to make it more cost efficient are still needed. To this end, Metsä Group is participating in developing a new solution where the surfaces of forest roads are layered with a mixture of ash and crushed rock employing a traditional method. Once hardened, the ash serves as a binding component in the surface layer.
Bricks and tiles from de-inking sludge in Slovakia and Poland
De-inking sludge from the Metsä Tissue Zilina mill in Slovakia and Krapkowice mill in Poland have been used as a raw material in the production of bricks and tiles for several years. Around 90,000 wet tonnes of de-inking sludge is used annually in leading European tile and brick factories. This has enabled them to minimize its consumption of other, diminishing natural resources such as natural clay and sawdust. Metsä Tissue has also been able to make use of the de-inking sludge, which is generated in the production of recycled fibre pulp from recovered paper.