Stora Enso’s inauguration of its new lightweight containerboard machine at its mill in Poland following a Euro 285 million ($ 129 million) investment is an impressive example of its continual transformation as a one of the Europe’s leading packaging materials manufacturers. The investment also reflects the company’s future strategy in the Eastern Europe region. “We have to continue to rethink, and the investment in Poland is another step in our transformation into a value-creating renewable materials company focusing on growth markets,” says Stora Enso CEO Jouko Karvinen.
With a predicted capacity of 455,000 tonnes/yr of product annually the new BM 5, which went on stream early this year is described by the company as “the crown jewel of Ostroleka Mill”. Running exclusively on recovered fiber, it is a beast that needs constant feeding, which is where Stora Enso’s integrated network for collecting paper for recycling in Poland comes into play.
Then new board machine is also part of an aim to improve recycling in Poland. As a nation it annually consumes four million tonnes/yr of paper and board, and only some 1.6 million tonnes of that amount is recycled. According to Stora Enso this means that the future potential of securing recovered fiber for industrial use is “tremendous”. The average recycling for board in the EU is 71% and in those countries with the highest recycling efficiency, such as Germany, the figure can be as high as 77 %. With only 39 % of board and paper is being recycled in Poland: the lowest rate in the EU area, the scope is wide for improvement.
The company has established its own collection system in Poland based on collection and sorting stations that it has set up around the country. The packaging material it collects is transported to those collection stations, where it is separated from other waste material and baled. The final raw material is then transported to Stora Enso’s mill at Ostroleka and made into new products: cardboard boxes and board packaging.
Mill director of the Ostroleka mill Jerzy Janowicz explains: “We have altogether 20 collection and sorting stations around the country. Our system is one of a kind in Poland.”
He adds: “Stora Enso is not a waste-collection company but we can show the authorities and consumers how to turn recovered materials into a successful business, as well as the quality requirements that should be established for those materials.”
Janowicz continues: “The board waste may just look like colorful rubbish to some, but this raw material keeps huge board machines in motion. True recycling means more than just sorting. It means that perfectly functional new products are made from the recycled materials.”
At the backdrop of this exciting recycling revolution lies the continuing growth for lightweight corrugated packaging. Mats Nordlander, EVP, Renewable Packaging concludes: “The demand for modern lightweight corrugated packaging is increasing rapidly. The market in Central and Eastern Europe will grow by over five per cent a year. Our new BM 5 will strengthen our position in the growing markets of Central and Eastern Europe, and at the same time supporting our packaging growth strategy.”