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

Image: Sonae Arauco

Sonae Arauco has announced an investment in two new recycling centres in Portugal, totalling more than €5m. 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.

As such, 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. This means a total of 30% of recycled wood is used across its portfolio, compared to the average of 21% in the European wood-based panels industry.

Rui Correia, CEO of Sonae Arauco, said: “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 did not 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 added: “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 €13m 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. In Spain, the recycling company is called Tecmasa and manages nine centres. They aim to increase wood collection at their recycling centres by 60% by 2034, reaching a figure 150% higher than that achieved in 2014.