UK-headed Mondi plc, a leading global packaging and paper company, has announced that it is investing EUR 20 million to further improve the sustainability of its pulp production at the Frantschach mill in Austria. The mill, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2021, has already been self-sufficient in terms of energy for many years and supplies surrounding communities and industrial companies with surplus heat from the pulp production process.
The investment will be made in the expansion and modernization of the evaporation plant that will increase the amount of heat extracted and reduce the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the biological wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). In addition, it will increase the share of by-products from the pulping process.
Today, the focus on sustainability and circularity puts fibre-based products, and pulp, right into the spotlight. Not only is wood a renewable resource, but we know that paper is the most widely recycled material in the world with, for example, 74 percent of paper and 83 percent of paper-based packaging in Europe being recycled. Our new plant equipment will make our pulp production even more efficient and sustainable. The modernization and expansion of the evaporation plant will increase the amount of heat extracted and reduce the need for steam. It also reduces the chemical oxygen demand of the biological wastewater treatment by 140 tonnes per year, said Gottfried Joham, Managing Director of Mondi Frantschach.
The decision to invest was driven by the need to make the best use of wood as a primary input.
Wood is one of the most important raw materials for a future based on renewable resources and resource efficiency is an equally important consideration. We see ourselves as pioneers in the bioeconomy and we’re doing this by increasing the share of by-products from the pulp production process, said Gottfried Joham.
In this specific case, the proportion of tall oil, which can be used in the production of paints, adhesives, or films, will be increased from 18 kg to 35 kg per tonne of pulp.
Construction of the new evaporation plant will start immediately and commissioning will take place in the autumn of 2023.