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2 minute read - 23rd January 2023

Green light for Essity paper recycling plant in Prudhoe

Building work has started on one of the UK’s most advanced wastepaper recycling plants after Essity Prudhoe Mill was given the green light by planners. Northumberland County Council granted planning permission late last year for the multi-million pound scheme – which is the Swedish tissue giant’s single biggest investment across any of its six UK sites in the last ten years.

The company will replace its existing 50-year-old recycling plant with a new facility housing the latest in paper-recycling technology – reducing energy costs and increasing its ability to make household products from recycled fibre. Supermarkets and green consumers have long-demanded the use of recycled paper in toilet rolls and paper towels – with most recycled pulp traditionally being made from office wastepaper.

Availability dropped significantly as companies moved away from printers and photocopiers in favour of email – a trend accelerated by more people working from home post-Covid. But the new state-of-the-art plant will enable Essity to recycle alternative sources of more widely available, lower-grade waste material.

Construction has begun after Essity received the green light for its new paper recycling plant in Prudhoe – it’s the biggest single UK investment by Essity in the last decade / Picture: Essity

Representing the largest financial investment at the mill since the installation of its second paper machine in the early 1980s, the work will see the total demolition of the existing Unifibres complex. Four replacement buildings will be towards the centre of the site and less visible from the main road – with completion by late 2025. The work will be carried out by Gateshead-based Robertson Construction North East.

Essity programme manager, Paul Oliver, said: “The significance of this investment cannot be over-stated.  It will enable us to recycle lower-grade paper and board, enhance our ability to segregate plastic and metal contaminants, reduce waste sent to landfill and improve energy efficiency. Our old Unifibres facility was at the end of its working life and this scale of investment helps secure the future of the mill, helps us to continue meeting demand for our products such as Cushelle, Velvet and Tork and, importantly, provides a more attractive and safer working environment for employees.”

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