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Tork PaperCircle closes the loop for used paper hand towels at COP26

Essity’s Tork PaperCircle® service recycles used Tork paper hand towels from the conference

Essity, a leading global hygiene and health company, and maker of the Tork brand, announced Friday that its circular service, Tork PaperCircle, was showcased and used at more than 80 washrooms at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). This two-week long, global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland marked a decisive moment for climate action, with a specific focus on scaling circular initiatives to decarbonize the economy and lead the way to tackle climate change.

Tork PaperCircle is the world’s first circular recycling service for used paper hand towels, turning discarded waste into new tissue products. By implementing Tork PaperCircle throughout COP26, the conference organizers contributed to a circular society, reducing waste by at least 20%1 and cutting carbon emissions from the collected paper hand towels by up to 40%.2 While paper hand towels are the preferred method of hand drying3, only 1% are currently recovered for recycling, indicating that paper hand towels remain an untapped opportunity for a circular business model.

“In our commitment to climate action, Essity helps our customers, and their waste management teams go circular with our innovative Tork PaperCircle service in select EU countries. We are extremely pleased that Tork PaperCircle was used during COP26, the world’s most important meeting for climate change, and enabled delegates to be part of a circular solution that allows resources to be used efficiently, purposefully and repeatedly,” said Don Lewis, President of Professional Hygiene at Essity.

Tork PaperCircle now reaches more than 35 million users in over 150 different locations in Europe. The service builds on the dedicated partnerships between customers, waste management companies and Tork. By creating a circular loop for paper hand towels, Essity and Tork are leading the way for industry change.

Tork PaperCircle is just one example of Essity’s contribution to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, and as a Global Compact signatory, towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To drive progress towards these initiatives, Essity has prioritized 6 of the 17 UN Goals, emphasizing a focus on climate action, responsible consumption and production, clean water and sanitation, and more.

1 Based on results from Tork PaperCircle® pilot customers in Germany and The Netherlands

2 Based on a Life Cycle Assessment for Europe, where the avoided processes have been taken into account, conducted by Essity and verified by IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute Ltd, 2017

3 2021 Survey conducted by United Minds in cooperation with CINT in March 2021. The survey covered 7 markets China, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, UK and US with a total of 7063 respondents.

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