Circular economy: Essity’s pioneering Mainz-Kostheim plant in Germany
Circular economy: Essity’s pioneering Mainz-Kostheim plant in Germany

Last year, Thorsten Becherer, then Site Manager at Essity’s Mainz-Kostheim plant, discussed with TWM the latest advances at the company’s award-winning e-save programme following the launch of its €4m pilot project to run a paper machine CO2-free with green hydrogen at Kostheim.

The plant is the main factory for Essity’s Tork brand and its hygiene products, and in 2017 was the driver behind the world’s first circular economy for used paper towels with the Tork Paper Circle. Within the Tork Paper Circle, used towels are collected separately from customers in the hotel and catering industry, from companies or administrations and returned to the production process at the Kostheim site.

In 2023, the company then achieved a breakthrough on the way to net zero at its site – it produced paper CO2-free using green hydrogen as alternative fuel.

Now in June 2024, Essity continues working towards CO2-neutral production by 2050. Most recently, the company announced a partnership and pilot with Voith, which it said will create a new “disruptive” concept that revolutionises and rethinks tissue manufacturing.

Successful test runs have already taken place on a laboratory scale, and the concept is now being further researched and will enable CO2-neutral tissue production, lower freshwater usage by 95%, and lower energy consumption by up to 40%.