4 measures we are implementing to make more sustainable packaging products

4 measures we are implementing to make more sustainable packaging products

How can we reduce our impact on the environment? That question is constantly on our minds at Smart Packaging Solutions. Eline Verheijden, environmental coordinator at our Loenen facility, explains our approach based on 4 examples.

Making new solid board packaging products from recovered paper. The concept in itself is extremely sustainable, says Eline Verheijden. “In Loenen, we literally use paper thrown away as waste by households to make a new product. This is recycling in its purest form and therefore sustainable. But we do need energy and water for this process. We are constantly working to make the packaging production process more sustainable. Our goal is to reduce our energy and water consumption.”

1. Target: 55% less CO2 emissions in 2030

“We aim to reduce our CO2 emissions in 2030 by 55 percent relative to 1990. This requires a reduction in our consumption of natural gas. One way to achieve this is to use energy more efficiently in the machines.” 

“Our solid board machine for example, which is one of the main energy consumers. The production of solid board requires a large quantity of water, which has to be removed again at a later stage in the process. We do this by heating and evaporating. One possible solution would be to fit a vapour hood to our solid board machine. This is a type of insulating enclosure placed around the solid board machine, which recovers heat. That heat can then be used in the drying process for the solid board. Simply adding a vapour hood is expected to reduce our natural gas consumption by up to 20 percent.”

2. Smart reuse of water

“We need less and less water to make solid board. This is partly because we are constantly looking at techniques for reusing water intelligently. So we analyse what quality of water we need for each specific process and how we can use the same water intelligently for different processes. For example, the water used to dissolve recovered paper need not be clean. So it’s perfectly acceptable to use water for this that has already been used for an operation at some other point in the production process and that may contain small amounts of pulp.”


3. Cleaning water and making it suitable for reuse

“At our facility, we are able to clean process water and make it suitable for reuse. We do this through Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF): a water treatment process that purifies the used process water by extracting the solids; i.e. the fibres from which we make solid board. The fibres go to the pulper and are used for new board. Water is only released for external wastewater treatment when we can no longer clean it sufficiently ourselves.”

4. A ‘Water Roundabout’ for maximum reuse of process water

“We are investigating participation in a combined water treatment scheme with other packaging producers in our region. The water treatment plant in question is working on a plan for a circular water system: the Water Roundabout. The Water Roundabout is an innovative water system that filters and cleans used process water so that we can reuse it completely. As a result, our requirement for surface water or groundwater will reduce to zero, or almost zero. Our goal is to switch to the Water Roundabout in 2028/2029.”

What is the benefit of the Water Roundabout?

“For us, the Water Roundabout could mean running our plant (almost) entirely on recycled water. So, like our main raw material, which is recovered paper, our main process consumable, i.e. water, would also become fully circular. That reduces the adverse operational effects of dry periods when we have to use water sparingly.”

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