Essity was honored on October 28 at the AF&PA 2021 Presidents Forum for its sustainability efforts at its Wisconsin manufacturing sites— the paper mill in Menasha and converting facility in Neenah—to reduce water use and significantly improve the quality of water that is discharged back into the environment, known as final effluent. The sites manufacture professional hygiene products sold by Essity’s Tork® brand, including paper towels, napkins and toilet paper.
According to Don Lewis, President, Essity Professional Hygiene, “We all recognize that our industry relies strongly on natural resources—including water—so extra consideration for how we affect the environment is critical. I am proud of our teams for being good stewards of our natural resources—not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
In 2017, Essity’s Midwest Operations Environmental team began an effort to reduce phosphorus and total suspended solids (TSS) in the final water effluent at the Menasha paper mill. The improvements led to a 55% decrease in total phosphorus discharged and 35% decrease in TSS discharged. The team also worked to improve water use at the Menasha mill, which will now be able to recycle up to 30% of otherwise discharged water.
At the Neenah facility, the team cut water usage down by over 52% from a record high in 2017, and by 20% over their 2014 baseline, by rebuilding equipment. The site also rerouted all non-contact cooling water away from direct discharge to the river, which eliminated any source of potential thermal impact.
“Our Neenah and Menasha teams have worked tirelessly to achieve Essity’s Sustainability Goals and to maintain our high standards for water use and effluent quality,” said Rob Harvey, Essity regional site manager. “I’m thrilled that their dedication to this project is being recognized by AF&PA and our industry.”