CPH in the media

Where does the waste go?

Annabelle: 700 kilograms. This much waste is produced in Switzerland per year and per capita. What happens to it? Where do all the cans, the paper, the broken glass end up? A somewhat different travel report.

Annabelle editor Stephanie Hess went on a quest to discover the paths that municipal waste takes after it has been thrown away. The journey also took her to the production facilities of Perlen Papier:

About sixty percent less energy needs to be used for waste paper recycling than when virgin fiber paper is scooped. However, there is still a great need for recycling: Perlen Papier AG in Lucerne, which recycles all the waste paper of the city of Zurich, among other things, blows around 8,000 tons of CO2 into the air every year - as much as 2,000 people cause per year. Communications Manager Christian Weber emphasizes, however, that this is only a quarter of the energy required by competitors in the EU - partly because the company works together with the nearby waste incineration plant at this location.

PM4 and PM7, two huge, loudly rattling papermaking machines that run around the clock are mainly responsible for the high energy demand. They spray the cleaned paper pulp onto a huge web, after which the webs are pressed and dried with steam. Standing on the factory premises, it is almost impossible to imagine that the age of paper printing could soon be over. Huge mountains pile up, old newspapers leafing in the wind like in an arthouse film. Every day, 1500 tons are delivered from Switzerland and abroad. But there would be much more space in these spacious halls. There are empty spaces, which can also be found in the business books. Over the last ten years, there has been less and less waste paper, with consumption falling by around seven percent every year. This is obviously due to the fact that we now turn fewer pages, but scroll through more.

But the paper shrinkage is also linked to the flourishing of a close relative: cardboard, which is benefiting from the booming online business. Christian Weber emphasizes: "If paper enters the brown cycle, i.e. that of cardboard, then it is lost for paper production." As imposing as PM4 and PM7 are, the glue that is in the cardboard gums up their nozzles. More seriously, the cardboard contaminates the light-colored paper with brown speckles. "That's why we fight for every sheet of waste paper," says Christian Weber.

You can find the full article here (in German).