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Thai Pulp Company Creating High-Quality Paper from Palm Oil Waste

Empty palm fruit bunches | Image credit: Indonesia Information Bureau

Pulp Green Tech Holding (PGT), an R&D-focused company that owns Thai Gorilla Pulp Ltd., announced this week that it has successfully achieved a high-grade paper pulp made from empty palm fruit bunches, which are most often treated as waste material from the palm oil extraction process.

The company estimates that roughly 95 percent, or 300 million tons, of this raw material is currently discarded per year.

PGT says the process is highly cost-efficient and will enable investors, palm oil producers and paper pulp mills to achieve ROI of over 100% in the first year of operation, assuming the pulp is sold at a price of comparable non-wood materials. 

Through Thai Gorilla Pulp, PGT sells the palm pulp (or the paper product made from the pulp) to Europe, Malaysia and locally in Thailand.

Ryosuke Tanaka, CEO of Thai Gorilla Pulp, says, "We are very excited to announce the news, as our technology has proven to work in many paper products, and it opens the door for all kinds of investors to tap on the additional source of revenue, which are highly profitable and green. We believe it can ultimately change the landscape of the pricing structure of the recycled pulp, as our technology outperforms the other materials available in the market on cost."

PGT is aiming to expand its technology to Malaysia and Indonesia in the coming 12 months, and also preparing to form a partnership with paper mills/palm oil producers in the region.

Other recent advancements in turning agricultural waste into paper include innovations by UK paper manufacturer James Cropper, which developed an innovative recycling process that incorporates cocoa husk waste from chocolate production into unbleached cellulose fiber to produce a food-grade paper. The company says turning the otherwise wasted skins of many of the 3.5 million metric tons of cocoa beans produced each year into paper could be a significant breakthrough for the food and packaging industries. And actor-turned-entrepreneur Woody Harrelson’s Prairie Paper Ventures is producing Step Forward Paper, made from 80 percent wheat straw waste and 20 percent FSC-certified forest fiber. 

And as far as utilizing a waste stream that originates slightly closer to home, a Dutch wastewater treatment facility and paper mill is piloting Applied CleanTech’s Sewage Recycling System, which converts the biosolids found in wastewater into Recyllose — a sterilized, cellulose-based material that can be used in a host of applications, including construction, plastic, energy and paper.

SB Issues in Focus To learn more about innovative ways companies worldwide are eliminating waste, check out our #WasteNot editorial channel.

Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]

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