Global tissue maker Essity has completed the first stage of an environmental project to create a state-of-the-art water treatment plant at its manufacturing and Unifibres recycling plant in Prudhoe.

The total capex investment of approximately £3.4 million involves the installation of new technology and processes which are designed to meet or surpass current environmental standards and improve energy efficiency.

The first stage of the project cost £1.6 million to complete. This involved the installation of a new biological aeration system, high-tech fine and coarse screening equipment, pumps and the installation of a new clarifier bridge and scrapers.

Project lead and site engineer Michael Farrey, explains: “We use treated water from the River Tyne to produce our household paper and personal hygiene products, which is then cleaned through an effluent treatment plant before return to the river.

“As a business we work to operate sustainably and efficiently, this also means we have a responsibility to ensure that we minimise our impact on the environment through new investment in the best available technology.

“Our new effluent treatment plant uses energy-saving technology, measuring the in-going effluent quality and automatically controlling the output to ensure water quality is maintained. It will enable us to reduce energy consumption at the effluent treatment plant by 20 per cent, and improve the overall water quality going to the River Tyne.

“The benefit of including this ‘green’ technology in our manufacturing operations not only ensures the Mill is environmentally compliant into the future, we are also reducing our environmental footprint by saving energy in the long-term.”

The second stage of the project is scheduled to take place next year. Prudhoe Mill’s owners were formerly known as SCA before the SCA Group split into two independent listed companies – the forest products company SCA and the hygiene and health company Essity.

Essity is now the name of the parent company to household brands including TENA, Bodyform, Velvet, Cushelle, Plenty and Tork. The company is a world leader in the production of personal care products, including incontinence products, baby care, feminine care and medical solutions.

Essity is also the world’s second largest supplier of consumer tissue, producing toilet paper, household towels, handkerchiefs, facial tissues, wet wipes and napkins.