Enhancing our water stewardship in Europe

We act as responsible stewards of water resources, reducing our water consumption and improving the quality of water we return to the environment. This story profiles two innovative actions on this journey from our European mills in 2021, actions that we continuously seek to enhance and that are inspiring more eco-effective innovation across Sappi worldwide.

Building more water resilience into Ehingen Mill

Water is vital to the operation of our mills. It's used not only to produce pulp and paper, but also to generate steam for mill processes, our power supply and so much more. Unusually long periods of dry weather caused low water in the Schmiech River, which prompted our engineers at Ehingen Mill in Germany to seek out an eco-effective solution in 2021.  

The river’s record low water level threatened the mill's productivity and required an adaptive solution that would make the mill's operation more resilient. Especially considering that drought and water shortages will become more common due to climate change.

Sappi engineers responded by installing a water buffer tank. The tank can store 6,000 cubic meters of water, which is enough to meet process-related peaks in water demand and supply the mill with water for about five hours in the event of a complete water supply failure.

It's a solution that's good for the river and the surrounding community as well as the resilience of our mill.

Increasing water circularity at Gratkorn Mill

A major project at Gratkorn Mill in Austria has succeeded to modify the pulp bleaching technology used on-site, enabling more water and wastewater circularity and reducing water consumption in a partially closed circuit.

It also decreased the effluent load from the oxygen bleaching, reducing organic matter in the wastewater. The modified bleaching technology uses magnesium oxide in the delignification process.

Following the conversion, Gratkorn’s characteristic magnefite pulping process remains ‘Total Chlorine Free’ and continues to deliver high-yield and high-quality pulp.

By engineering this eco-effective solution, Gratkorn has taken a significant leap forward in its sustainability journey. A leap that's a source of inspiration for all of us at Sappi worldwide.