Environment & Sustainability
Water & Chemicals
Cascades exceeds water conservation target
By Cindy Macdonald
Cascades announced on World Water Day that it has exceeded its 2015 target for reducing its water consumption. The packaging and tissue manufacturer had as an objective to decrease wastewater output of its plants to 10.6 cubic meters of water per tonne of products by the end of the 2013–2015 Sustainable Development Plan.
Several process improvements have enabled the company to exceed this target and reduce its output to 9.9 cubic meters per tonne, which is six times less than the average for the Canadian pulp and paper industry. (The average for the Canadian industry is 65 cubic meters according to the Forest Products Association of Canada, 2013.)
“By choosing to manufacture many products from recycled materials, we not only save trees, we also save a large amount of water during the manufacturing process. Even though we consume less water than the industry average, we spare no effort in continuing to improve our performance,” says Mario Plourde, president and CEO of Cascades. “We are now seeing the major benefits of our good practices, not only with regard to the environment, but also with our finances – as saving water results in cost reductions.”
Over the past few years, Cascades’ environment department has worked closely with plants to identify areas for improvement in an effort to reduce water consumption. “Our teams have used their ingenuity to reuse water as much as possible in a closed circuit, thereby minimizing our fresh water usage,” explains Léon Marineau, vice-president, environment. According to the company, in 2005, Cascades plants consumed an average of 23.9 cubic meters of water per tonne of products. Ten years later, they are using 2.5 times less.
Between 2013 and 2015, Cascades’ water savings compared to the industry consumption average enabled it to save 312 billion liters of water.
Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibres.