Surrounded by the scenic mountains and forests of Trentino in northern Italy, the over 130 employees at Condino Mill are especially conscious of their environment. The mill achieved a major eco-effective win in 2020 by turning sludge that would normally go to landfill into a valuable new resource for construction and the circular economy.
Reflecting the pure nature of Glassine, one of the main paper grades produced from Condino, the mill's sludge is rich in fibre with low-chemical content and other additives. With this profile, mill director Misa Bursac knew that the sludge had special value. He just needed to find the right partner to appreciate it. Remarkably, he found just the right one nearby in Trentino. La Società Specialized Polymers Industry (SPI) is an award-winning start-up that is making waves by turning paper-making sludge into thermal insulation panels for use in buildings.
By transforming the sludge into a building material that will last for years, this is an eco-effective solution with long-term benefit. Preparing the sludge for SPI also requires relatively little energy. The mill only presses it to remove some of the water, without having to dry it completely as normally required in recycling processes. Since SPI is located in the region, carbon emissions during transport are also minimal. This project exemplifies the kind of eco-effective co-operation that makes Sappi a leader in the circular economy.