ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING INSULATION MATERIALS ARE PRODUCED FROM LOW CLASS WASTEPAPER IN CĒSIS

 

Foto: Valdis Semjonovs

 

Although wastepaper recycling is not a huge problem, approximately 30% of household wastepaper is still buried at landfills or burnt, for example, a large part of packaging material and mixed paper. SIA “Balticfloc”, a company established in Cēsis, has launched a project, which will allow recycling also low class wastepaper in the nearest future. By adding hemp fibre, the company plans to produce a thermal insulation material with enhanced thermal conductivity. Currently, the factory recycles 160 tonnes of wastepaper monthly, which is approximately eight trucks.

 

 

ECOWOOL, ASPHALT ADDITIVE AND LITTER FOR CATS

The company “Balticfloc” produces various cellulose fibre products from recycled materials. One of such products is ecowool, which is used in insulation of buildings. Ecowool is a loose, dry mass, containing 86% of ground paper.

“My aim is to recycle also paper waste, namely, wastepaper with food remains, tetra packs, wet and smelly wastepaper that is buried at landfills, whereas in Western Europe such waste is burnt for generating energy. Such low class wastepaper makes up one third of all wastepaper,” indicates Edžus Cābulis, the Chairman of the Board of “Balticfloc”.

 

The company plans to grind low class wastepaper and add hemp fibre to ensure thermal conductivity of the soft heat insulation plates. For this purpose the company has also sown own hemp field near Alūksne. “We will explore this formula yet. The more low class wastepaper we will be able to use, the better and more we will be able to recycle it,” adds E. Cābulis.

 

 

ALSO EUROPE HAS HIGHLY APPRECIATED THE INNOVATIVE APPROACH FOR WASTE RECYCLING IMPLEMENTED IN CĒSIS, ALLOCATING FUNDING WITHIN “LIFE-PHIPP” PROGRAMME.

 

The total planned project budget is three million euros, out of which 1.8 million euros will be co-funding of the European Commission.

 

“Balticfloc” uses wastepaper also for producing pellets and litter mulch for pets; however, the product is not sold in Latvia, because the line of small packaging is not developed yet. The company still tests pellets for cats to obtain a product with even higher absorbency. “This material is more popular in England and Germany, where the idea of ecology is more developed. In Latvia, many people still think that a cat can just go outside. People in Latvia are not ready yet to pay for cellulose two times more than for cat sand.”

 

E. Cābulis tells that the product, of course, is tested before launching it on the market. Also the entrepreneur himself has a cat. My cat is not so capricious, but my friends have a cat that does not want to go anywhere else, it just sniffs around and pees next to the litter box. Paper absorbs moisture and bad odours very well.” Besides that, cellulose litter is biodegradable, is easy disposable in a compost pile or by burning.

 

The increased amount of active bitumen in SMA asphalt extends the service life and durability of road surface, compared to the ordinary asphalt concrete. However, adding of ground paper to high intensity asphalt intended for motorways is compulsory, thus blocking bitumen runoff. Until production of this asphalt additive was started in Cēsis, it was imported from abroad. “At the moment, we are the only company in Latvia producing it.

 

We have conquered our market position.” One of the issues attracting the local manufacturer is logistics – nobody will deliver a few tonnes from European countries to small factories. “We can deliver, but it will be very expensive.” Also books and documents can be used for producing this asphalt additive, but not magazine paper. “Magazine paper has high content of chalk.”

 

The company also produces cellulose mulch and mulch pellets suitable for hydroseeding needs. “In places with large plantations, steep slopes or dry areas, this material is mixed together with paint, mineral fertilizers, seeds, and is applied on the soil. The paper creates a layer, which holds moisture and seeds, preventing birds from pecking them out of the soil. And after some time lawn forms in this place,” the entrepreneur explains another option for recycling paper.

 

 

QUALITATIVE WASTEPAPER IS LACKING

“Balticfloc” carries out dry recycling of wastepaper. It means that wastepaper is ground in various fractions, obtaining different products. The company buys wastepaper in bales, sorts it and grinds into larger particles. Then these particles are forwarded to a magnetic tape, where all magnetic impurities – metal staples – are separated. After that, the raw material is transported to the next grinding machine, which grinds it to the required dimensions.

 

We do not collect the wastepaper ourselves, instead buying it from waste sorting companies. “Each product has its own requirements. For example, ecowool can be produced only from newsprint. This type of paper has the best fibre, and there are not many places in Latvia, where we can get so much newsprint, so we import it.”

 

 

QUALITATIVE WASTEPAPER IS BOUGHT FROM LATVIA, LITHUANIA, BUT MOSTLY FROM RUSSIA.

 

In these countries, paper sorting is developed, but no recycling is done. There have been rumours that in order to promote paper recycling Russia will prohibit export of the raw material, but it has not happened so far.

 

Waste sorting companies in Latvia sell the so-called mixed wastepaper for recycling, where all types of wastepaper are mixed together. This type of wastepaper is sold at a lower price. “There are no problems with this material in Latvia, it’s amount is sufficient,” states E. Cābulis, indicating that the quality of work of wastepaper sorting companies differs. Some companies perform the sorting process accurately, but some companies also have plastic and metal in their wastepaper. Paper absorbs moisture very good, and sorting companies are interested in selling as heavy paper as possible, but we need dry paper for recycling.

 

“In winter, sometimes we transport also paper bales covered in snow, because don’t want to argue every time,” adds E. Cābulis. Therefore, visual control and sorting of wastepaper is carried out before the recycling process.

 

Maybe the company in Cēsis needs to start sorting waste itself to obtain qualitative wastepaper? Foreign experience shows that a recycler starts dealing with waste collection and sorting itself, after reaching particular capacity.

 

“A spacious hangar is required for waste reception and sorting, also containers for wastepaper have to be installed, vehicles are required for wastepaper transportation for sorting into fractions… It’s a whole industry. Besides that, market competitors have to be taken into consideration, who are reluctant to newcomers. We still have to grow. For now, we participate in the secondary raw materials collection campaign in Latvian schools in collaboration with “Zaļā josta”,” tells E. Cābulis. In the framework of the campaign “For Clean Latvia!”, 326.7 tonnes of paper and cardboard waste collected by pupils in Latvia has been transferred for recycling by the end of 2018.

 

E. Cābulis calls the population to sort waste, separating paper, cardboard and their products, thus reducing the fee for removal of household waste. He also sorts waste himself, using containers next to his home. “To be honest, I don’t have much waste. I leave my home before 8 AM and return after 8 PM,” he adds.

 

PROJECT “PAPER – HEMP INSULATION PILOT PRODUCTION” (LIFE PHIPP, LIFE17ENV/LV/000335) IS IMPLEMENTED WITH THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION LIFE PROGRAM AND STATE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY REPUBLIC OF LATVIA ADMINISTRATION OF LATVIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND.