Paper fibres can only be recycled seven or eight times. After that the fibrous residue contains too many traces of previous use, such as ink and whiteners, and the grinding needed for recycling also means the fibres are now too short and weak to make into paper. When recycling is no longer possible AVR converts the paper pulp residue into valuable energy and raw materials.
Since 2002 AVR has processed paper industry residue in its thermal conversion plant in Duiven. Every year we convert the around 180,000 tons of paper pulp residue we receive from the Netherlands and Germany into enough heat and electricity to heat thousands of homes in and around Arnhem via a heat network. This means these homes no longer have to use fossil fuels, such as natural gas, for heating.
After the paper pulp has been incinerated the mineral residues – lime and kaolin – are given a second life in TopCrete® – a calcareous (chalky) binder that is a useful component of various construction materials.
Paper pulp residue processing is a good example of how AVR forms an indispensible link that closes the circle in the paper recycling chain. This makes AVR’s thermal conversion plant a component of both the Bio-based and circular economies.