Start-up team: (L-r) Mannheim's plant manager Roger Schilling, Mannheim's mayor for economy, labour, social affairs and culture Michael Grötsch, Essity's Chief Executive Magnus Groth, and the head of the straw pulp factory Dr. Martin Vienna.

Essity has begun tissue production based on pulp from wheat straw at its plant in Mannheim, Germany.  

The company said it is the first of its kind in Europe, and the first on a large-scale tissue production in the world. 

It added that it is the first company in the tissue industry to use such agricultural leftovers at industrial scale.  

Magnus Groth, President and Chief Executive of Essity, said: “This type of innovation is the way forward to increase circularity and reduce our climate footprint.  

“Using straw as a new raw material in pulp makes us less dependent on wood fibre and recycling fibre and is more resource and cost efficient, while our consumers can make more environmentally-friendly choices.”  

The Mannheim plant is Essity’s largest tissue plant in Europe with an annual production of 283,000 tonnes of tissue.  

Annually, the company will regionally source 70,000 tonnes of straw that will become about 35,000 tonnes of pulp. 

Essity said it has an exclusive licensing agreement for the technology where the straw-based pulp will maintain the same quality as conventional wood-based pulp at a competitive cost.

The straw pulp will initially be used in tissue products for the German consumer retail market under Essity’s brand for household towels and toilet paper, Zewa.  

The products will contain about 30% straw-based pulp.

To read TWM’s recent interview where Essity’s Donato Giorgio discusses the Mannheim wheat straw plant, click here.