Rubbish revolution

Published 6 February 2014 by Stora Enso
​​In Poland, only 39% of board and paper is recycled: the lowest rate in the EU area. The average recycling rate for board in the EU is 71%, while in Germany the figure can be as high as 77%.

Though Poland has lacked an efficient board-recycling system for years, companies have become aware of the valuable truckloads of board being taken to landfill. "We have not just stood by and watched," says Michal Gawrych, Sales and Logistics Director at Stora Enso's Ostrołęka mill. "Stora Enso collects board in Poland on its own. Our sources are shopping centres, industrial areas and companies, which provide us with a lot of material in one go."
From the stations, the raw material is transported to Stora Enso's mill in Ostrołęka and made into new products: cardboard boxes and board packaging. The crown jewel of the Ostrołęka mill, a new, lightweight containerboard paper machine that went on stream in early 2013, runs exclusively on recovered fibre. "We have altogether 20 collection and sorting stations around the country," says Jerzy Janowicz, Mill Director of the Ostrołęka mill. "Our system is one of a kind in Poland."

Stora Enso has strived to promote recycling awareness by, among other things, participating in Poland's Woodstock Festival, which boasted an audience of half a million people in 2012. Stora Enso produced a recycling bag for each attendee, into which they collected paper and board rubbish from the festival venue and brought to recycling points. The sorted waste from the festival was then transported to the Ostrołęka mill for board production.

"We hope that both consumers and decision-makers keep sight of what happens to board and paper after it is sorted for recycling," Gawrych says. "We need to take the focus off just recycling and start thinking about the entire life cycle of materials." Janowicz nods in agreement. "True recycling means more than just sorting. It means that perfectly functional new products are made from the recycled materials," he says.

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