Metsä Group uses all raw materials as efficiently as possible. All materials do not end up in our end products but are industrial side streams. Industrial sidestreams are valuable raw materials that are efficiently used either by us or our business partners.
By developing the use of sidestreams we both improve our resource efficiency and replace the use of fossil, or other raw-materials. Our sidestreams can be used e.g. as fertilizer or as raw materials for fertiliser products. They are also used for soil improvement and geotechnical construction.
Side streams can be used directly as fertilizer and for soil improvement:
- Lime from pulp mills is used in field liming to balance the acidity of the soil.
- Ash from our biomass boilers is used as a forest fertiliser to return nutrients back to the circulation.
- Wood bark is used as mulch or as raw material for growing media.
The use of side streams as circular fertilizers directly replaces other fertiliser products, thus representing circular economy in reality:
- Over 90% of production side streams are utilised.
- Their use lowers the environmental impact of fertilizer production as they increase the resource efficiency of both their producer and their user.
- End customers are also increasingly interested in circular economy and how it effects the products that they use. This trend favors products that promote resource efficiency through the value chain.
- Some of the key concepts, such as by-product, residue and waste are currently not yet fully harmonised on the EU-level to guarantee correct and coherent classification of raw materials.
- A harmonised by-product definition in the waste framework directive is currently being discussed in the Waste Framework Directive. Without such harmonization, better utilization of industrial side streams is more difficult. Currently the interpretation of the key concepts varies from country to another and also within the member states. This prevents resource efficient use of raw materials and creates inconsistencies.
- The New Fertilizer Regulation, including CE-marked fertilizers, being drafted under the circular economy package promises to open the internal market for fertilizers produced from industrial sidestreams. However the drafting process faces several challenges as the current proposal excludes from CE-marking several sidestream materials currently used in fertilizer products in member states.
Tytti Peltonen, Vice President, Corporate Affairs