Blue Circle: a model of decarbonisation

Project Description

Blue Paper is a joint venture owned by VPK Packaging Group and Klingele Papierwerke Group with an annual production of 400,000 tonnes of recycled corrugated paper. Through the recycling process, reusable paper fibres are cleaned and segregated from residual materials. The annual residue amounts to 25,000 tonnes, mainly wood fibres, textile and plastics extracted from raw material bales. In the near future, Blue Paper will use these process residues in a new heat plant that will convert their potential energy into steam, to be used on-site in the paper machine drying section. This ambitious project, called Blue Circle, will contribute to the circular economy and the use of green energy. With this project, Blue Paper aims to innovate for a sustainable future. The project has received significant support from local authorities, political leaders and the French energy agency.

Project Purpose

Blue Circle aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (minus 80% natural gas consumption, minus 500 trucks/year and minus 30% CO2 emissions). The project will also reduce fossil energy consumption by replacing gas with process residues. It will increase the share of renewable energy: the process residues contain partly worn-out fibres, wood, cardboard and textiles that constitute biomass. Another big contribution to the environment will be reducing landfill waste by reusing process residues, eliminating 12,000 tonnes of landfill waste per year. The Blue Circle project will thus contribute to developing the circular economy with local treatment of process residues and on-site consumption of the steam produced by the new heat plant.

Project Evaluation

Blue Paper currently uses external service providers to eliminate process residues (landfill in France and incineration in Germany). After the new heat plant comes online, Blue Paper will close the loop and use these residues onsite to produce steam, replacing two gas boilers.

François Bru

Blue Paper Mill Manager

“Since Blue Paper started, we have had to use external service providers to eliminate the impurities found in recycled paper bales, such as plastic, wood and textiles. As these process residues can be incinerated to generate green electricity, steam and heat, there was a clear opportunity to improve our environmental processes. This project started in April 2017 and is currently proceeding as planned; we expect it to be operational in May 2018. We have also enjoyed a very good working relationship with the local authorities and obtained the necessary permits and support from ADEME, the French Energy Agency. After implementation of the new heat plant, Blue Paper will close the loop and use these residues on-site to produce steam, replacing two gas boilers.”

Main Features:

CO2 Emissions saved (tCO2)

This project will save 30% of CO2 emissions.

Investment €25 million


The Blue Circle Project received a subsidy from ADEME, the French Energy Agency.