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UPM’s Zero Solid Waste to Landfill initiative wins the Midwest Regional Sustainability Award in the US

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UPM’s Zero Solid Waste to Landfill initiative received the Gold Award in the Midwest Region Sustainability competition challenged by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Chicago. According to the panel of judges, UPM’s initiative stands out as an excellent example highlighting Supply Managers’ responsibility to lead, drive and influence sustainability initiatives within an organization.


UPM’s Zero Solid Waste to Landfill initiative, launched in 2016, is one of the ways in which UPM contributes to the United Nations sustainable development goals for the year 2030. The initiative focuses on five of the most challenging production side streams to recycle, starting in UPM’s home country, Finland. The waste fractions are ash, sludge, sandy bark, dregs and mixed waste. The project’s main goal is creating a permanent and scalable operational model around the existing forms of recycling and reuse of these challenging side streams, but it also looks into finding completely new, innovative ways to recycle and reuse the solid waste that has previously ended up in landfills. At UPM approximately 90 per cent of production waste is already today recycled or reused. Before initiating this project, UPM already had zero solid waste to landfill operations at its mills in Austria and Germany.

"UPM achieved both waste and cost savings from their Zero Solid Waste to Landfill efforts, showing how significant progress can be made to simultaneously reduce cost and support sustainable initiatives," says Scott Daniels, ISM Chicago Sustainability Chair.
"We are very impressed that our initiative was so highly recognized," says Jennifer Wilkerson, Director, Business Development and Marketing, UPM Paper ENA (Europe and North America). "The excellent results so far in the Zero Solid Waste to Landfill Initiative is, of course, a result of active networking both internally and with external partners," Jennifer tells.

UPM’s comprehensive side stream based product portfolio includes already, for example
- Renewable diesel and naphtha from tall oil, a residue from company’s pulp production
- Biocomposites from recycled paper and plastic which is manufacturing surplus from company’s self-adhesive label materials production
- Recycled nutrients from side stream ash and sludge
- Soil stabilisation products out of dregs and ash
- Geopolymers and concrete binders from dregs and ash
- Forest fertilisers and alkaline replacements out of ash from biomass incineration
- Biogas out of primary and bio sludge
- Wood waste side streams to composting and substrates

A million tonnes of UPM paper is used in the United States annually. UPM has a paper mill in Minnesota and 700 000 tonnes of UPM paper is delivered every year from Europe.

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