Protection of water resources

The availability and quality of water is changing all over the plant as a result of anthropogenic factors, i.e. human activities. Even areas traditionally rich in this resource, such as the Scandinavian peninsula and the United Kingdom, are beginning to show worrying shortages. Throughout Europe, the scarcity of water in recent years has led to an increase in droughts (involving 11% of the population and 17% of the territory). By 2030, it is very likely that half of Europe’s catchment areas will be affected.

In such a framework, Europe therefore needs to promote water reuse: of the more than 40,000 million m3 of waste water in Europe treated by sewage systems, only 964 million are immediately reused. Greater incentives could increase the amount by at least 6,000 million m3 each year by 2025: in May 2018, the European Commission proposed new rules to stimulate and facilitate the reuse of water in the irrigation sector, while in September a public consultation was launched to update the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

In this context, and also to protect its production capacity, a fundamental role is played by Sofidel’s pursuit of objectives to reduce water consumption through both management measures and investments. With regard to the latter, the creation of a system for the collection and re-use of rainwater at Intertissue, in the UK, and a waste water recycling plant at Soffass Paper Mill Via G. Lazzareschi in 2014 are worthy of note.

Water withdrawal of the Sofidel Group*


* Due to the recent commissioning of the Sofidel America Circleville plant, the data do not include performance for this plant.

Water supply sources* – 2018


* Due to the recent commissioning of the Sofidel America Circleville plant, the data do not include performance for this plant.

The 2018 data are close to the excellent performance of 2017, considering the size of the Group and the variability of production.

The percentage of water recycled in Sofidel paper mills can be estimated as above 96.5%.11

Total amount of water discharged, destination and treatment of waste water


The specific emissions, calculated on the basis of the results of the chemical analyses made, confirm that, generally, the qualitative trend in emissions in water reflects levels of excellence due both to the exclusive use of biological treatment plants and the predominant use of virgin cellulose as raw material.

The total amount of water discharged in 2018 shows a slight increase owing to the installation of the new plant in Spain and the coming on stream of the Polish plant, which started at the end of 2017. These plants discharge into external treatment plants, increasing the share of wastewater managed by public treatment plants (34.7% in 2018, compared to 33% in 2017). For the latter, the statistics produced by Sofidel give poorer quality data, because the wastewater is analysed before the external treatment. Nevertheless, the Group value of 1.30 kg/t paper falls well within the range identified by the European Commission, which can be obtained by applying the best technologies to the paper industry12, which extends from 0.15 to 1.5 kg/t paper for the COD parameter.


11. The recycling rate has been calculated using the method given in the publication “Methods for measuring water recycling in paper mills” (Assocarta - Confindustria - Aticelca), February 2019.
12. Best Available Techniques (BAT) Conclusions for the Production of Pulp, Paper and Board.

Specific emissions of pollutants into water

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