Essity starts work on UK paper recycling facility

The company will replace the current 50-year-old building with technology to reduce energy costs and increase its ability to manufacture recycled-fiber products.

essity consumer tissue products
Essity has begun work on a nearly $40 million upgrade to its Prudhoe facility in the United Kingdom.
Photo courtesy of Essity

Essity has begun construction on a $36.8 million upgrade at its Prudhoe mill in Northumberland, United Kingdom, after the planning commission approved the project last week.

The Prudhoe facility is Essity’s largest site in the U.K., and the Sweden-based tissue producer is calling the upgraded site “one of the U.K.’s most advanced waste paper recycling plants”

“The existing building is past its end of life, so it needs to be replaced, but also it’s an opportunity to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the plant, and that will be incorporated into the new design,” says Simon Johnson, civil projects manager for Essity’s “Project Unify,” which is managing the project.

The investment will replace the current 50-year-old building and equip the site with technology to reduce energy costs and increase Essity’s ability to use more recycled paper in its feedstock. Traditionally, the company has used sorted office paper and other high grades as feedstock in its tissue, but because of supply issues with high grades, it is pivoting to using more mixed paper and packaging grades.

Johnson joined the effort in 2020 and says his team worked on the design development of the new facility through 2021. He adds that the construction phase will last about 12 months while the entire project is expected to be complete by late 2025.

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