Polish primary school and Finnish university win 2015 paper recycling awards

Oct 15, 2015

Yesterday, the European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) announced the winners of the fifth European Paper Recycling awards. The well-attended ceremony took place at the European Parliament and was hosted by MEP Eva Kaili who is also head of the Greek S&D delegation.

The winner of the Technology Improvement and R&D category was Aalto University and VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) with a new, innovative process for turning paper for recycling and cardboard into textile fibres called Ioncell-F.

Although producing textile fibres from cellulosic material is nothing new, the process submitted by Aalto University and VTT is innovative in two ways. Firstly, it allows for the production of fibres of quality equal or better than those deriving from similar processes. Their high strength also renders the fibres suitable as natural reinforcement in composite materials. Secondly, the process makes it possible to use lignin as a natural textile dye.

The Ioncell-F process is based on the use of a so-called ionic liquid to dissolve cellulosic waste material without the addition of toxic chemicals and spin fibres for the production of textiles and garments. “We’re happy to see this environmentally-friendly process already attracting considerable interest, even though it is still in a developmental phase”, said Michael Hummel, Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University.

The winner of the Information and Education category was the Literatura za Makulature (Literature for Paper for Recycling) project, submitted by a primary school in the Tychy region of Poland. In order to encourage children to get involved in paper recycling, the school invited famous Polish authors to meet its pupils, paying for their participation with money raised from selling the paper for recycling brought to school by the children. The initiative is unique not only in Tychy but in Poland.

In his speech ERPC Chairman Henri Vermeulen stressed the role of the recycling awards. “It is our pleasure to highlight and reward innovative paper recycling projects coming from education institutions. Initiatives like these prove that the paper industry is already the perfect example of a circular economy”, he added.

Five more entries were commended by the jury: Ecofolio for their project ‘The Modulated Eco-Contribution Scale’, Papierenkarton.nlz o.o. for their ‘Papier & Karton Educational Programme’ (Information and Education category); PTS Papiertechnische Stiftung for ‘Advanced treatment of recycled pulp by use of hydrodynamic cavitation pulses’, Alucha & SCA Hygiene Products for ‘REFILLS (Recovering of Energy and FILLers from Sludge)’ and Kadant International for ‘Polycup recycling at James Cropper speciality papers’ (Technology Improvement and R&D category).

Photos from the awards and presentations given by the winners are available at www.paperforrecycling.eu/recycling-awards. The next edition of the ERPC recycling awards will be organised in 2017. For more information, please contact the ERPC Secretariat, Ulrich Leberle, at +32 2 627 49 23, +32 479 90 59 21 or .