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Clean Technology

Paper boasts exceptional environmental credentials: it is made from a renewable resource; it is biodegradable; it can be recycled and it is a source of green energy. The final link in the chain concerns the paper manufacturing process. Important advances have been made to make sure that it is produced in a sustainable manner.

Over the last two decades the papermaking industry has significantly reduced its energy and water needs, as well as its emissions to air and water. Production residues per tonne of product have decreased enormously (60%) since 1990 and the industry target is to reduce to zero the production waste going to landfill.

In fact, the European paper industry has achieved what is the ultimate goal of environmental management: whereas production has increased for the last 20 years, responsible environmental management and production efficiencies have seen ecological impacts decrease. Over ten percent of the €5 billion euro the sector invests in innovation per year goes towards enhancing environmental protection.

Likewise product-side innovation has allowed papermakers to reduce the quantity of raw material used while maintaining or even increasing the paper produced and its performance - e.g. low grammage products in the packaging area have resulted in less material providing the same or even better technical and economic performance.

A key indicator of the industry's commitment to clean technology is that 76% of all pulp and paper production sites in Europe conform to a recognised environmental management system. The ongoing challenge is to continue to make progress, to ensure that every part of the production process is environmentally sound.

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