All industrial activity has an impact on the environment. The most significant parameters for evaluating the environmental performance of a company in the pulp and paper manufacturing industry are:
Torraspapel guarantees that the timber it uses to manufacture its products is responsibly sourced and is able to provide evidence that this wood comes solely from legal, non-controversial sources, all of which are certified or controlled. Proof of this are the PEFC and FSC chain-of-custody multi-site certifications held by all of its manufacturing sites.
Paper and pulp manufacturing require large amounts of water. Nevertheless, only 5% of the water used is consumed, while the remaining 95%, is purified then released back into the environment. The implementation of internal measures to avoid in-process water loss and investment in equipment allowing for increased recycled water use resulted in a 26% reduction in the amount of water required for paper and pulp production between 2003 and 2008.
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) values of effluents at Torraspapel’s manufacturing sites have decreased notably in the last six years, with a 48% and 50% reduction in values respectively for pulp and paper production in the period 2003-2009.Since 2001, 100% of the pulp produced by Torraspapel has been ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). Eliminating chlorine gas from pulp-bleaching sequences eliminates effluent dioxins, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of water discharged.
The paper industry is one of the sectors in the best position to fight against climate change: it uses a natural and renewable raw material that absorbs CO2 during its growth; the stored carbon is not released when the tree is cut down, but remains within forest products; and through recycling, the storage time of carbon increases while emissions at disposal sites are reduced. Last year, Torraspapel reduced specific CO2 emissions by 7%, the result of various measures, such as replacing fuel oil with natural gas, improvements in production processes and implementing plant-specific energy-saving projects. Reducing CO2 emissions represents the first step in counteracting the process of global warming, but the importance of maintaining and increasing woodlands must not be overlooked. For this reason, Torraspapel is progressively increasing the purchase of certified cellulose from well-managed forest plantations, as well as contributing to increasing woodlands through reforestation programs that have resulted in the planting of more than 20,000 trees, true CO2 absorbers.
Torraspapel has achieved a considerable reduction in specific energy consumption in recent years. An analysis of points in the production process susceptible to energy conservation led to a 14 million Euro investment plan for the implementation of measures affecting both pulp and paper production and co-generation plants that have made significant reductions in energy consumption possible. Torraspapel’s total specific energy consumption – the amount of energy consumed by ton produced – fell 12% in the period 2005-2009, reaching values below 2 MWh/t.
In line with an environmental policy based on continuous improvement and the efficient use of natural resources, Torraspapel carried out diverse projects designed to increase energy efficiency in 2009.
All of its mills updated their equipment and installations with this goal in mind. Some of the actions implemented in 2009 were:
One of Torraspapel’s environmental objectives is the elimination of fuel-oil consumption. In 2006, fuel-oil already represented only 5% of energy consumption, and in 2007, it was replaced entirely by natural gas which emissions are between 25 and 30% less than those of fuel-oil.
Through numerous measures, such as decreasing the solid waste generated during paper production, recovering part of this waste and reintroducing it into manufacturing processes, and the recovery of waste materials for recycling, Torraspapel has, since 2003, reduced the amount of sludge sent to disposal sites by 29%. Throughout 2009, market instability as well as restructuring of the Group’s production resulted in continuous stoppages, adjustments and tests, having at times a negative effect on the efficiency of production systems and causing an increase in the amount of sludge per ton sold.
Torraspapel invested nearly 3 million Euros in a study and the subsequent installation of a treatment plant for odor-producing gases at its Zaragoza mill. The new treatment plant was inaugurated in May 2007, and has resulted in the elimination of more than 90% of odor-producing gases, enabling them to be used as an energy source, thus increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the manufacturing process. The project is based on three equally important actions: gas capture, destroying components that can produce unpleasant odors through low-NOx thermal treatment, and, finally, cleaning the combustion gases for emissions control.