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Sustainable fibre technology

24 June 2019

Essity is investing €37 million in technology that will enable the company to produce high quality hygiene tissue products from wheat straw.

This process will offer major sustainability benefits since wheat straw is an agricultural by-product and a renewable resource.

The new process will come into effect in the second half of 2020 at Essity’s manufacturing plant in Mannheim, Germany, with the wheat straw being sourced from farms in and around Mannheim.

“This process will enable Essity to replace some certified fresh wood fibre with renewable wheat straw,” said Essity’s UK country manager Kevin Starr. “This will result in an environmental benefit as the process uses significantly less water and energy. Additionally, it transforms an unused agricultural by-product into a scalable new tissue fibre source.”

Essity has signed a license for exclusive rights with US-based Sustainable Fibre Technologies (SFT) that will give Essity access to SFT’s Phoenix Process. This  technology converts plant-based renewable sources to pulp suitable for manufacturing tissue products. 

Wheat straw is the term used to describe stalks left over after grain has been harvested from wheat. While some wheat straw is used as animal bedding or ground cover, around half of it worldwide goes to waste. 

By-products from the production of pulp from wheat straw can be used for fertiliser and soil enhancement, providing a sustainable alternative to the petroleum used in synthetic products and creating a circular outcome.