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UPM Timber and Lassila & Tikanoja have started a collaboration to recycle sawn timber wrappings

HELSINKI (News release) -- UPM Timber and Lassila & Tikanoja have established a new recycling concept, in which used plastic wrapping is picked up from the customers and recycled into new wrappings. The customers also receive a compensation for the recycling collaboration.

The new recycling concept was introduced during the summer of 2022, and it has been warmly welcomed by customers. One of the companies piloting the recycling is the Finnish log house manufacturer Honkarakenne.

UPM Timber's goal is to be a forerunner in sustainability in the timber industry. The company has ambitious goals to reduce its emissions and improve its environmental responsibility, and ultimately stop using fossil raw materials altogether. UPM also wants to actively foster the sustainability of its partners and customers, one example being the recycling of sawn timber wrappers.

"Thanks to the new recycling concept, sawn timber wrappers are transformed from waste into raw material. Plastic wrappings that were previously diverted to energy waste are now collected separately, picked up and refunded. Used wrappings are then taken for further processing at L&T's recycling plant. The material can circulate in a closed loop over and over again into new sawn timber wrappings," says Marko Turunen, L&T's Sales Manager.

Circular economy to improve sustainability

"Cooperation with L&T has got off to an excellent start, and further actions have already been agreed with several of our customer companies that buy sawn timber," says Antti Koulumies, Head of UPM Timber.

One of the first companies to join the recycling project was log house manufacturer Honkarakenne.

"The plastic recycling concept with UPM and L&T works very smoothly and also contributes to our sustainability goals. We want to reduce the environmental impact of our own operations and promote the recyclability of materials. It is great that the sawn timber wrappers can be reused," says Marko Saarelainen, CEO of Honkarakenne.

All conventional plastic sawn timber wrappers are suitable for recycling, after they are packed into cargo-ready bales on the customer's own plot and delivered via L&T's regional terminal to the Merikarvia plastic recycling plant. At the plant, the material is washed and renewed into recycled granulate, which is then used for the re-manufacturing of new sawn timber wrappers.

Aiming for a fossil-free future

The recycling concept will initially operate in Finland, but there are plans to possibly expand it to also serve foreign export customers. The recycling of plastic wrappings brings significant benefits to the entire supply chain.

"The amount of waste that would have otherwise been burned will decrease, and the recycling rate will increase. In practice, waste treatment is transformed into monetary benefits through recycling. At the same time, we support Finnish industry and improve the responsibility of everyone involved in the operations," says Antti Koulumies.

Earlier this year, UPM Timber switched to sawn timber wrapping containing recycled plastic. The long-term goal is to stop using fossil plastic altogether.

"Finding alternative materials is a big challenge, but we are doing everything we can to be a forerunner in sustainability and to continuously develop our own operations. In the future, sawn timber wrappers could even be made from wood raw material, other bioplastics or a combination of these. Step by step, we are moving towards our goal," Koulumies sums up.

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