Utilisation of side-streams

Our goal is to fully utilise production side streams by 2030 and to run production that does not generate any landfill waste.

Utilising side streams

Metsä Fibre’s principle is to use raw materials efficiently. We favour the recovery of waste and by-products and to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill. 

Our production side streams consist of by-products and process waste, such as green liquor sludge, ash from energy production and lime ash from pulp production. The majority of the process waste is utilised for material use and for energy generation. 

Efficient waste management

Some of our mills have their own waste management area or landfill, where operations are subject to an environmental permit. Part of the waste is delivered to external waste management companies, whose operations are subject to environmental permits, for processing or disposal.

Being able to take advantage of the full potential of production side streams requires scientific research and cross-industry collaboration.

Landfill waste, t

Five year trend 2019–2023, Metsä Fibre total
Graph shows values 48,595-15,125 during 2019-2023

Utilised side-streams and waste, t

Five year trend 2019–2023, Metsä Fibre total
Graph shows values of 152,117-254,044 during 2019-2023

New bioproduct solutions

Our own resource efficiency has also been improved through new bioproduct solutions. At the Äänekoski bioproduct mill, the production of sulphuric acid from the mill’s odorous gases has expanded the mill’s closed chemicals cycle. It also minimises any sulphate discharges into the waterways. The same technology is used also at the Kemi bioproduct mill.

Metsä Fibre’s Joutseno mill, Äänekoski and Kemi bioproduct mills produce product gas from bark. This product gas is used as a fossil-free fuel in the mills’ own processes. Our goal is that in the future, all of our mills will operate completely without fossil fuels.

Utilizing green liquor dregs

Currently, we are using almost 90 per cent of our side streams. A major reason for this utilisation rate is green liquor dregs, which is a fraction created during chemical recovery, for which there has been no established use thus far. Green liquor dregs are being used on earthworks sites to replace virgin raw materials such as crushed rock and gravel in field structures to save natural resources. Another potential use for green liquor dregs is in geopolymers used to replace materials like concrete. 

We are actively seeking other purposes for green liquor dregs by conducting our own research and pilot projects and participating in universities’ jointly funded research projects. Batches of green liquor dregs have been supplied for testing in new applications, and they were also used in earthworks.

Cooperation with partners

A strategic R&D programme for converting side streams for use in the circular economy is underway at Metsä Group. We are researching and developing, both independently and with partners, various new purposes for sludge, ashes, lignin, sawdust, bark and many other forest industry side streams. We are also exploring opportunities for carbon recovery and upgrading.

Product samples od wood-based bioproducts like pulp pellets and light fibre material