Press release

New life cycle assessment confirms recycled paper as top saver

Glückstadt, 12.12.2022 – The Federal Environment Agency’s updated life cycle assessment of graphical papers again concludes that recycled paper performs better than virgin paper in terms of clearly defined parameters. Based on the market’s usual mix of virgin papers from integrated and non-integrated production, the savings are 78 percent water, 68 percent energy and 15 percent carbon emissions, which makes a clear case for recycled paper.

The focus in this appraisal is on environmental impacts in the production process, including the upstream chains up to the point of product delivery at the factory gate (cradle-to-gate). And Steinbeis Papier’s plant in Glückstadt is especially efficient in this respect: recycled paper is conceived of in a circular economy, from procurement, to production, to use, and back to re-procurement. Furthermore, the small amount of wastewater produced despite a largely closed water cycle is treated in the factory’s own fully biological treatment plant. The latest fluidised bed technology and combined heat and power employed at Steinbeis’ power plant cover 100 percent of the factory’s thermal and 50 percent of its electrical energy needs.

The Federal Environment Agency’s latest study included qualitative aspects such as biodiversity, land use change and carbon storage in forests. When Steinbeis Papier makes its recycled paper, not a single new tree is felled, because it only uses waste paper. That’s why, by choosing recycled paper, you help maintain biodiversity, reduce negative land use and ultimately protect the climate.

And Steinbeis Papier achieves potential savings that even exceed the general life cycle assessment figures published by the Federal Environment Agency. By switching to ReThinkingPaper, customers cut down on energy by 73 percent, water by 79 percent and carbon equivalent emissions by 42 percent compared to conventional paper. This is how Steinbeis Papier’s products encourage a complete rethink of how we conserve resources. “With one of Europe’s most advanced paper mills, we manufacture high-quality products under energy-efficient, low-emission and resource-saving conditions. The new life cycle assessment provides the data to confirm our commitment and shows that Steinbeis Papier has chosen a path towards greater climate, environmental and resource protection,” says Ulrich Feuersinger, Managing Director of Steinbeis Papier.

More data, facts and details are available in the study entitled Updated life-cycle assessment of graphic and tissue paper commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency and conducted by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg (ifeu). Here’s the link: 

About Steinbeis Papier

Steinbeis Papier GmbH in Glückstadt is the European market leader in graphical recycled paper made from 100% recycled materials. The product range includes printing and copying paper, coated offset paper as well as digital printing paper and label paper. In 2021, Steinbeis Papier produced a total of 298,199 tonnes of paper and generated a turnover of €189.7 million. With its early commitment to sustainability, the company has made a contribution to sustainably rethinking both the paper industry and the consumer markets, in addition to significantly shaping the development of the recycled paper market in Germany and Europe.

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