The Eindhoven CommUnity organised a company visit on February 16th, 2017. Eindhoven CommUnity members were invited to see how Smurfit Kappa is making an effort to produce sustainable packaging materials.
On February 16th, the Eindhoven CommUnity visited Smurfit Kappa cooperation, located in Roermond, a lovely city close to Eindhoven. The company, one of the world leaders in paper-based packaging, operates in 21 countries in Europe and up to 10 in North and South America. As their motto “Sustainability in every fiber” suggests, Smurfit Kappa is always exploring new ways to make the production chain more efficient, promoting the circular economy scheme and reducing waste and emissions.
In their final product, 80% of the material comes from recovered paper and 20% from virgin wood coming from certified forests, in which only a certain amount of trees is logged as a way to respect the environment and reduce the impact on biodiversity.
The recovered paper delivered to the factory comes with undesired materials, mostly aluminum and plastic. Before the manufacturing process begins, these materials are collected and sold to partners. The other wastes produced during the process are suitable to be used as by-products in farming and industrial chains.
The electricity and heat needed in the process are generated on-site by a highly efficient cogeneration power plant. While natural gas is still the main energy source, a boiler, powered with biogas coming from the production chain, has been recently installed. The energy generation from biogas is expected to increase in the upcoming years with the installation of new boilers.
As a final thought, it was a very interesting experience that allowed us to get an insight into the production chain of an everyday product such as paper packaging. Moreover, we learned more about new and trending concepts such as circular economy and reduction of waste in industrial processes.
By Antonio Muroni
In collaboration with The CommUnity Post
27 February 2017