ReThinking Paper

Paper production at Steinbeis

We’ve been producing recycled paper for over 40 years. We produce energy-efficient, low-emission, resource-saving graphical papers at one of the most modern paper mills in Europe. Not only are we rethinking recycled paper, but also the entire value chain, from procurement to production and disposal. Discover how we are revolutionising paper production and why you should become part of the green revolution for more sustainability.

For those who take environmental protection seriously, there is no alternative to recycled paper.

Ulrich Feuersinger
Recycled paper Production Recycling management
Paper made from Paper

What is recycled paper?

Recycled papers that carry the Blue Angel are made from 100% reclaimed paper. This involves a wide range of different types of waste paper from private households and from industry and commerce. At Steinbeis Papier, we obtain our waste paper directly from the region and even collect it locally from our customers. This helps us secure a supply of raw materials for our production, and it also avoids long transport journeys and unnecessary carbon emissions.

Unlike recycled papers, conventional papers – known as virgin papers – are made of cellulose. This is obtained from newly felled wood.

Stapel Altpapierballen

 Waste paper grades for the production of recycled paper include:

  • Sorted household paper
  • Variously printed paper from printers
  • Sorted waste office paper

Why is recycled paper good for the environment?

Recycled papers that carry the Blue Angel consist of 100% reclaimed paper. As a result, producing them consumes significantly fewer resources than making virgin papers. Recycled papers protect forests, preserve biodiversity and the climate, and save energy, water and carbon during production. At Steinbeis Papier, we have been producing our recycled papers without wood for over 40 years.


Steinbeis sustainability calculator

Together we can achieve a lot. Calculate how much you can improve your ecological footprint using Steinbeis recycled papers. Save valuable resources such as energy and water, and reduce your carbon emissions.

Calculate savings
Recycled paper Production Recycling management

How is recycled paper made?

We produce our recycled paper in an energy-efficient, low-emission and resource-saving way in one of the most modern paper mills in Europe.

Gabelstapler entlädt Altpapierballen

1. Turning old into new. We use different types and qualities of waste paper. Waste paper from private households is sorted before use and all non-paper components are removed. Our paper mill can technologically process even inferior grades of waste paper. That allows us to recycle waste paper fully, protect resources and avoid leftover waste.

2. Gentle ecology against foreign substances. The waste paper is then shredded and dissolved in water while stirring. We do not use ground water for this at Steinbeis Papier, we use surface water from the River Elbe. The printing ink contained in waste paper is removed in our waste paper treatment plant using air and soap. Our ‘deinking’ process deliberately avoids substances that are harmful to the environment or health. We’ve rethought waste water too and we employ ecological waste water treatment in our fully biological treatment plant.

3. Recycled papers in ecological balance. The cleaned paper pulp is then drained, dried and smoothed in a paper-making machine before it becomes new recycled paper. We make sure we work as efficiently as possible during the entire production process. That way we produce very few emissions and use very few resources when we produce our recycled papers.

Label Blauer Engel und EU Ecolabel

4. The most important environmental labels – without compromise. Our papers meet the strictest ecological criteria of the leading environmental and consumer protection labels. All of them have been awarded the Blue Angel and EU Ecolabel. With a maximum degree of whiteness, a naturally clean surface and all of the performance characteristics you could wish for, our recycled papers save on resources, energy and carbon – but never on performance.

These are the papers we produce in our paper mill

Druck- und Kopierpapier Sortiment
Printing and photocopying papers

Set an example for environmental protection in the office. Our printing and photocopying papers perform brilliantly in all kinds of areas and are great value.


Discover printing and photocopying papers
Offset papers

Start a green revolution with the things you print. Our offset papers help make printing processes more environmentally friendly and economical.

Discover offset papers
Steinbeis Digital in der Druckmaschine
Digital printing papers

Our sustainable, high-performance digital printing papers for all common printing and processing systems. Proven in practice and uncompromisingly ecofriendly.

Discover digital printing papers
Label papers

Show people just how sustainable your company is. Our Steinbeis label papers are the ecological alternative to labels made of conventional virgin fibre paper.

Discover label papers

Recycled papers in the fast lane

Every year we produce more than 300,000 tonnes of graphical papers at our factory in Glückstadt. Once produced, our recycled papers are packed in an environmentally friendly manner and sent on their way to our partners in retail and the printing industry, or directly to our customers. The market share taken up by recycled paper is growing steadily.

The most advanced recycling factory in Europe

When we geared our entire business model towards sustainability in the mid-1970s, we were among the forerunners. Today we are the market leader in graphical recycled paper and produce it in one of the most advanced paper mills in Europe. We have invested over €360 million in recent years, and in 2020 we digitised all our production systems to remain at the forefront of cost leadership and sustainability. We’re rethinking paper – but we’re rethinking the entire production process too.

Recycled paper Production Recycling management
Integrated production cycles

The Steinbeis cycle model

We focus consistently on closed cycle concepts. This enables us to control all of the stages of production and recycling in an ecologically efficient way, while covering most of our own raw material and energy requirements ourselves.

Our energy cycle
  • We use green energy and have our own state-of-the-art power plant at our site.
  • Utilising the very latest fluidised bed technology and combined heat and power generation, it covers 100% of our thermal energy in the form of steam and 50% of our electrical energy requirements.
  • Our power station uses substitute fuels, as well as small quantities of waste materials that cannot be recycled.
  • The Steinbeis Group includes companies that generate environmentally friendly energy using biogas plants, solar and wind farms.
Our water cycle
  • We use relatively little water because we work mainly in closed water cycles.
  • We do not use groundwater, only surface water from the Elbe.
  • The water is repeatedly cleaned and treated during production, so we can use it several times.
  • We treat the small amount of leftover waste water in our factory’s own fully biological waste water plant.
Blick auf die vollbiologische Kläranlage
Our waste material cycle
  • We work in closed material cycles, so that we can avoid as much waste material as possible or recycle it ourselves. This means we do not have to dispose of anything in landfills.
  • We use the few waste materials that arise during production to produce our own energy. These include thickened paper fibre sludge. The resulting ash is used as a raw material for road construction.

Our paper cycle

  • We take care of the whole chain of paper disposal, recycling and production ourselves.
  • We procure the waste paper for production locally and feed it directly into recycling and upcycling.
  • That way, we keep paper permanently in circulation. The principle being: use, dispose of, refine, recycle.
  • ‘Circular Economy – Back-to-Use’ is a service we offer in which we collect waste paper from businesses, ministries and administrative offices and use it to make new paper for them.
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