DS Smith's Trakia linerboard mill in Bulgaria installs new water recycling system to further reduce mill's freshwater consumption by 400,000 liters/day; system purifies water to even higher standard to be used for other essential purposes in mill

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November 21, 2022 (press release) –

Our innovative water recycling system is protecting the planet's scarce resources

Our Trakia   in Bulgaria treats and safely returns over three quarters of the water it uses to the local environment. Now our engineers have designed a simple water recycling system that will also reduce the  freshwater consumption by 400,000 litres per day.

Quality and quantity

At DS Smith, water plays a critical role in our business, especially in the  production process. It's important we consume, treat, and recycle the water we use responsibly and efficiently to minimise our impact on the natural environment.

Our primary water stewardship priority is quality. Trakia   already has its own wastewater treatment plant that ensures the water it discharges is purified, ecologically safe and meets all local regulatory requirements.

Our second stewardship priority is to effectively manage the amount of water we use. Which is why our Now and Next Sustainability Strategy commits us to reducing water withdrawal by 1% per tonne of production per year, in areas of high-water stress.*

Caring for the Balkan's longest river

The new water recycling system installed at Trakia  means that we will now extract 146,000m3 less freshwater per year from underground wells. The new system significantly improves upon the existing wastewater treatment plant because it enables us to purify water to an even higher standard, which can then be used for other essential purposes in the .

Until now, we have been unable to use our treated wastewater to clean our  machines. This is because tiny impurities, that are completely harmless to the environment, can still cause blockages in the delicate, low pressure spraying nozzles used in the cleaning process.

The new step in our wastewater treatment plant passes the water through a four-step filtration process, with each filter getting progressively finer to capture more impurities. So purified water can now be pumped back to the  to clean the  machine and sediment tanks, reducing the amount of freshwater we need to extract from the underground wells, benefitting the local community and environment.

A modest investment that will make a big impact

Although the majority of our sites are in regions where fresh water is currently a relatively abundant resource, we are constantly planning for the future and particularly the impact of climate change.

The persistent heatwaves that affected many parts of Europe between June and August 2022 resulted in more than 60% of land in the European Union and UK being affected by drought.1 In Bulgaria itself, detailed regional climate modelling suggests the country will experience a 15% decrease in annual precipitation and water resources by 2050.2

Our new water recycling system is the first of its kind at our . It was a relatively low-cost project and took only two weeks to install. It has the potential to save millions of litres of water every year, protect local ecosystems and continue our commitment to being a responsible neighbour.


2 Republic of Bulgaria, Advisory Services on a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. Appendix 9: Assessment of the Water Sector (p16)

*Compared to 2019/20



DS Smith plc published this content on 21 November 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 21 November 2022 16:08:14 UTC.

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