World Recycling Day
World Recycling Day

Sonae Arauco invests over €5M in two new wood recycling centres in Portugal

On the eve of Global Recycling Day, marked on 17 May, Sonae Arauco, a major global player in wood solutions for furniture and construction, announces an investment in two new recycling centres in Portugal, totalling more than five million euros. Strategically located in the Minho region and north of Lisbon, these two centres will complement the activity of the three already operating in the country. This investment, part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR, in Portuguese Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência), will be completed by the end of 2025.


According to the figures released, Sonae Arauco incorporated a total of 734,000 tonnes of recycled wood in 2023, with wood recycling being the basis of its circular bioeconomy business model. In this respect, the company currently incorporates more than 70% of recycled wood in some of its product ranges, and expects to reach 85% in certain geographies over the next three years. If we consider the company's entire portfolio, recycled wood represents 30% of the total used, which compares favourably with the average of 21% in the European wood-based panels industry.


For Rui Correia, CEO Sonae Arauco, "The increase in the number of recycling centres, also in Portugal, is part of Sonae Arauco's strategy to incorporate more recycled wood into its products. Wood recycling didn't exist 40 years ago. Anticipating the trend towards the circularity of materials, we started this project in 1984 and since then we have made numerous investments in the area, both by investing in new technologies for processing this raw material in our industrial units and by increasing our capacity to receive more recycled wood, particularly through our centres." He adds: "Although recycling has long been strategic for Sonae Arauco, the truth is that today it is vital for sustainability objectives and for the competitiveness of the business."


In line with this, over the next two years, Sonae Arauco plans to invest around 13 million euros to ensure its objectives of integrating more recycled wood. This investment will include the purchase of equipment for recycling centres and industrial units, ensuring greater efficiency in the processing of wood waste and increasing the capacity to incorporate a greater quantity of recycled wood into particleboard solutions. At the same time, the company is developing innovative technologies to make it possible to incorporate recycled wood fibres into MDF solutions.


Currently, in Portugal, under the management of Ecociclo, Sonae Arauco owns three recycling centres located in the districts of Porto (Alfena - Valongo), Setúbal (Seixal) and Coimbra (Souselas). In Spain, the recycling company is called Tecmasa and manages nine centres. The aim is to increase wood collection at our recycling centres by 60% by 2034, reaching a figure 150% higher than that achieved in 2014.


The centres' wood recycling operations are carried out thanks to around 700 containers provided by Sonae Arauco in Portugal and Spain for the direct collection of waste from its customers' premises, from pallets to packaging, furniture, doors, construction, urban waste, etc. Industry by-products such as slabs, sawdust or chips are also used and returned to the industrial process.


Sonae Arauco's circular bioeconomy model

With a team of around 70 people working in recycling, Sonae Arauco's business respects the principle of using wood in a cascade. This is one of the pillars of the company's business model.


Wood forms the basis of Sonae Arauco's value chain, which begins with the use of sustainably sourced raw materials, incorporates by-products from the wood industry and, in a circular approach, closes the cycle with the reuse and recycling of waste, which is also used in the manufacture of wood-based panels, thus keeping this material in circulation. This is a virtuous cycle, and recycled wood can be reintegrated into the process countless times as way of retaining carbon dioxide, making it an excellent alternative to fossil-based materials.




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