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Use of recycled nutrients at biological waste water treatment plants by 2030

Organisation: UPM-Kymmene Corporation

Time: 3/19/2016 – 12/31/2020



UPM integrates bio and forest industries and builds a sustainable future for across six business areas. UPM´s products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM has 21 production plants in 13 countries.

Pulp and paper mill effluents contain a lot of organic matter, which is removed at a biological (activated sludge) waste water treatment plant prior to being discharged. However, the effluents are poor in nutrients and biological waste water treatment requires addition of nutrients to keep the bacteria active.

UPM’s pulp and paper mills with own biological waste water treatment plants commit globally to use only recycled nutrients by 2030. In Finland, the target is expected to be achieved by 2020.

Currently, most of the nutrients used are purchased as ready-made trade names. UPM aims to find recycled nutrients from local sources, thus reducing local eutrophication in the best case and in any case promoting circular economy.

The implementation strategy is as follows:
1) Current status of used nutrients at all 21 mills (global)
2) Literature check of possible potential alternative recycled nutrients
3) Surveys of possible potential local partners
4) Set-up of pilot
5) A series of pilot trials at different plants globally

In addition, UPM donates 10 000 EUR to the Baltic Sea Action Group in 2016.