In addition to helping reduce CO2 when they are living, trees provide their own renewable energy for the paperboard production process after they have been harvested, helping minimise the industry’s net emissions of CO2.
The bark, sawdust and other by-products, such as black liquor resulting from the logging and pulp-making process, which would have otherwise gone to waste, provide renewable energy for the paper mill and district heating. This renewable energy accounts for over 90% of the total energy production at the four European paper mills producing paperboard for beverage cartons.
Some of the mills even sell surplus green energy from this process, helping to further minimise fossil fuel consumption. For example, the BillerudKorsnas paper mill in Gävle, Sweden, supplied the local community with 656GWh of green energy for district heating in 2016 – enough to power 33,000 homes, equivalent to almost the entire population of the city of Gävle.
Beverage carton recycling in the UK