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Bio-based paper towels complement sustainability

18 October 2023

TORK, FROM hygiene and health company Essity, provides products and solutions that help customers achieve sustainability goals.

Manufacturing today faces a particular challenge – how to balance the demand to continuously improve productivity with the need to meet sustainability goals. Sitting alongside Tork’s targets to provide better hygiene across a range of sectors, is the mission to make hygiene in manufacturing as sustainable as it can be. Sustainable innovation and collaboration are key to accelerating progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Tork products help to improve more from less and create circularity by helping factory owners and manufacturers to close the loop. From the start of a product’s life at its raw materials such as wood fibres, to how to product is used and disposed of at the end. Reducing packaging, reducing CO2, building upon sustainable practices and improving wellbeing can all contribute to establishing this circular component of hygiene in collaboration with Tork products. 

Beginning at the start of the production line, Tork paper towels are sourced using three key sustainable resources: recycled fibres, alternative fibres, and fresh wood fibres. All wood-based fibres used in Tork products are FSC or PEFC certified. The Tork Heavy-Duty Cleaning Cloth, 99% biobased, is made from 99% plant-based fibres and sustainably sourced – independently certified by TÜV Austria as OK Biobased. It helps companies reduce their environmental impact while benefiting from improved performance for absorption, durability, linting and solvent consumption. In addition, Tork Cleaning Cloths are interfolded for easier, faster access and one-at-a-time dispensing. This means customers only touch what they take, reducing waste and cross-contamination. The cloths also save 32% on cleaning time compared to rags, with a reduction in effort of 25%.

“Sustainability has become a significant factor in customer choices,” said Anna Königson Koopmans from Essity. “We are creating products that strive to maximise efficiency and deliver greater sustainability while maintaining rigorous performance standards.”

Today, 90% of Tork packaging is made from renewable resources such as recyclable paper or cardboard. Not only is sustainable packaging fundamental to protecting products, but it’s also about seeing the whole picture, such as responsibly using plastic where necessary to make products easier to handle. Looking forward to the future, by 2025, all plastic packaging used will contain 30% recycled content. Also, 100% of plastic packaging will be recyclable, although many products under Tork’s offering already meet these requirements. Today in Europe, only three out of ten plastic products are recycled, making these kinds of measures even more important.

Creating circularity in sustainability also extends through production processes. Tork has taken steps in using innovative design techniques to reduce plastic waste and CO2. With no wrap plug or core, Tork Coreless toilet paper reduces packaging and carbon footprint. Tork PaperCircle is the world’s first paper hand towel recycling service. Waste towels are collected from factories and facilities, returned to the Essity warehouse, and recycled into new paper hand towels, closing the loop for something that before, would have been sent to waste. By recycling Tork paper hand towels with Tork PaperCircle, we can reduce the carbon footprint together by 40%1 Essity is also continuing to take steps to work towards reducing and reusing water in factories, with the target that all production waste will be subject to material and energy recovery by 2030.

Creating sustainable circularity has also shown the benefits of wellbeing in the workplace. In a survey from Essity, two in three people that look for a new job select a company based on its sustainable reputation and actions, and 1 in 7 has considered leaving a job due to the lack of green practices in the workplace. Sustainable choices made within a business make a direct impact on employees’ thoughts about their place of work, highlighting the importance of eco-friendly practices. 

Tork products and services support green workspaces, through ecolabel-certified hygiene products and data-driven educational tools and advice to help businesses optimise sustainable practices and create circularity. 

For more information, visit www.tork.co.uk

1 Estimation based on a third-party verified life cycle assessment for EU average conditions, where avoided processes from alternative use of fresh fibres and energy were considered. Potential savings in kg CO2e is calculated based on the result from the life cycle assessment and the collected weight reported to us. Estimate should not be used for carbon footprint calculations or reporting purposes.