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Essity to invest over £30m in UK wastepaper recycling facility

After receiving authorization, the company begins to shape what will be its biggest investment in the last ten years in the country.

Essity, a leading hygiene and health, and manufacturer of Cushelle toilet paper at Prudhoe Mill, is building a costing over £30m paper recycling plant in Northumberland, UK.

The company is committed to reducing its reliance on virgin wood fiber, used to make its tissue products, including tissues, sanitary products and diapers, following a sharp drop in the supply of wastepaper.

Essity has submitted plans for a plant that will become one of the UK’s most advanced wastepaper recycling plants and replace its current 50-year-old facility.

Building work began following Northumberland County Council approval for plant planning, paving the way for the Swedish tissue giant’s single biggest investment in the UK in ten years.

The plant’s new facility will feature the latest paper recycling technologies, with a focus on reducing energy costs and increasing its capacity to manufacture household products from recycled fibers.

The use of recycled paper in toilet paper rolls and paper towels has been a growing demand from consumers and supermarkets that are concerned with the issue of sustainability.

Most recycled pulp is traditionally made from office paper, but supplies have dwindled as companies shift from printers and photocopiers to e-mail, a trend that has only accelerated due to the large number of people working from home during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.


With the new state-of-the-art facility, Essity will be able to recycle alternative sources of more widely available lower quality waste materials. The work includes the total demolition of the existing unifibres complex. Four replacement buildings will be constructed in the center of the site, less visible from the main road, with completion expected by 2025.

Paul Oliver, program manager, says the investment will allow Essity to “recycle lower-grade paper and board, enhance our ability to segregate plastic and metal contaminants, reduce waste sent to landfill and improve energy efficiency”.

“Our old Unifibres facility was at the end of its working life and this scale of investment helps secure the future of the mill, helps us to continue meeting demand for our products such as Cushelle, Velvet and Tork and, importantly, provides a more attractive and safer working environment for employees”, the executive added.

“Across the UK, manufacturers are facing so many challenges at the moment and seeing a major global company like Essity make this kind of commitment to sustainable manufacturing in Northumberland is great news. It will secure long-term jobs and apprenticeships and sends out a strong message about just how innovative, aspirational and caring of the environment our local businesses can be,” Paul concluded.

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