Mere steps away from a closed water cycle

At Neenah Coldenhove we start our paper production with 0.5% pulp from wood and 99.5% water. The water is removed from the pulp mass and the mass is dried in the paper machine until it becomes the paper stock that the customer has ordered. Founded over 350 years ago in the village of Eerbeek (‘Soil Brook’), Neenah Coldenhove is an ideal location for the paper industry because of the excellent quality of the fresh water from the Veluwe region. In the beginning the wastewater was discharged in the same brook that it came from. The wastewater contained fibres, chalk, clay and dissolved materials such as salt.

To prevent the wastewater from being discharged into the fresh water stream, a sewer system was built in 1965, followed by an eight kilometres long direct pipeline to the Ijssel river in 1979. Industrial Water Eerbeek (IWE), founded by the paper industry in Eerbeek, filtered the collective wastewater before it was discharged. It took until 2018 to build the six kilometres of pipeline that now leads the wastewater of Neenah Coldenhove and the neighbouring paper companies back into just one of their production lines.

In 2017, our search for more efficient in-house water management resulted in a drop of 21.5 (2016) to 19.7 (2017) cubic metres of water per tonne of paper. By far the largest amount of water we use in the production process is reused in either the paper machine itself or in the stock preparation. Our ambition is to find ways to reuse 100% of our wastewater without discharging. We’re now at 95%. Innovative methods for water purification suggest that recovery can lead to a water quality fit for all Neenah Coldenhove production processes. In September 2018 we will initiate a joint investigation with IWE to determine the requirements for water recovery from IWE to Neenah Coldenhove.

This all puts us one step closer to a closed water cycle.

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