Smurfit Kappa, a paper-based packaging production company, has completed a two-phase upgrade of its facilities at the Barranquilla Paper Mill in Colombia. The 7.5 million USD investment will see the implementation of a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) with state-of-the-art anaerobic technology which will reduce water intake from the nearby Magdalena River and improve the quality of water returned to it.
The upgraded facilities allow the Barranquilla site, which produces container board from 100 percent recycled materials, to contribute towards Smurfit Kappa’s sustainability targets that were expanded in January 2021. These include water quality targets to further reduce water intake and improve water intensity and usage. Specifically, this includes targets to reduce the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of the water by 60 percent by 2025 and a target to reduce water intensity by one percent annually. It is estimated the COD at the plant will reduce by 80 percent as a direct result of this investment.
The upgraded facilities allow the Barranquilla site to contribute towards Smurfit Kappa’s sustainability targets that were expanded in January 2021.
The WWTP uses advanced technology that includes a circular self-sustaining anaerobic reactor. The facility will also generate biogas which will help to improve energy efficiency and reduce the need for external power sources.
"For many years, our operations have been based on a circular economy model in which we seek to maximize resource efficiency and minimize waste,” said Alvaro Jose Henao Ramos, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Colombia. “This investment takes us to a higher level of efficiency and excellence in how we process water and is consistent with our goal of being a strategic ally to businesses in the Caribbean region."
"Without a doubt, these projects are one more step in the right direction in our environmental commitment to water and energy efficiency,” said Juan G. Castaneda, CEO of Smurfit Kappa the Americas. “Water is a fundamental resource that must be preserved and we focus our efforts on improving the quality of the water we discharge and reducing our use of the resource, going beyond what is required by law.”
Smurfit kappa has been characterized by its contributions to various sectors, including the fresh produce sector through packaging for fruits and vegetables. "We use our experience as a leading packaging supplier to the fresh produce market to optimize the supply chain and make our customers more sustainable, productive, and innovative. We largely understand the needs of growers, packers and retailers, and we use this experience day-to-day to help shape their future" said Germán Pulido, Director of Innovation at Smurfit Kappa The Americas.