Finns set example with selective collection, recycling and re-use

In Varkaus, in the South-East of Finland, thousands of paper milk and orange

juice cartons, crushed into blocks

weighing nearly a tonne each, covering an area of 1,400 m2, are being

transformed into paper card, steam and

electricity, and uniquely in the world, into aluminium powder.

To the delight of their clients, Finish company Corenso, the leading paper

card manufacturer in Europe,

transforms milk cartons into packaging materials, plastic film, cotton

reels, salt jars, boxes or fireworks cases. All

over the world, says Jukka Auvinen, Corenso’s Director of Purchasing, paper

pulp and card industries are turning

to recycled materials, in particular paper food and drinks cartons or wood

fibre where 70% of the packing is from

wood fibre. They also know how to convert the polyethylene (a plastic

lining) of the packaging of drinks cartons

into heat and electricity.

But the factory in Varkaus is the only one in the world which can recycle

the aluminium film of the carton, which

keeps the product fresh, into 90% pure aluminium. 3,000 tonnes of aluminium

powder are sold each year to the

German metals industry. The new production chain needed an investment of

Euro 34 million. It went into service

in August 2001. Drinks cartons and other recycled packaging produces 85,000

tonnes a year of paper/cardboard

and tubes. Production will be gradually increased to 100,000 tonnes by 2008,

according to Mr Auvinen.

The plastic material from old milk and fruit juice cartons goes to make

steam and electricity in an enormous

turbine. Annual production (250 million kwh) is enough to heat 40,000

Finnish homes for several months during

seasons where the temperatures drop to minus 20. In practice, it also

supplies the site with energy as well as

six other factories in the immediate proximity, two belonging to Corenso and

four belonging to its parent

company, Stora Enso, the fourth largest paper company in the world. It is

profitable due to this integration into a

large industrial complex. The incinerator, which crushes the aluminium, also

treats beer and cola cans which

missed the initial sorting and are mixed up in the bales. If the cans are

not aluminium, they are sorted out and

sold to recyclers with other metal waste, like the wires which hold the

bales together.

With its showcase of 100% recycling, and energy recovery, Corenso’s pilot

plant has the benefit of a favourable

national climate in terms of recycling and environmental action. In Finland,

the ecological world champion, sorting

of household waste has been practised for the last 20 years whilst it as yet

to really become a habit for the

French. 80% of packaging is re-used. But 5.2 million inhabitants in a

country as large as three-fifths the size of

France, is very few. Corenso therefore has to import each year nearly 50,000

tonnes of used cartons from

Germany, more than a third of all food cartons collected in that country.

Officially this pilot factory emits “very little

waste” into the atmosphere. But the overall global environmental impact of

the facility yet have to be established.

Ano da Publicação: 2003
Fonte: WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #25-2003: August 8, 2003
Autor: Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor:

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