Essity was honored on October 28 at the AF&PA 2021 Presidents Forum for our sustainability efforts at our Wisconsin manufacturing sites— our paper mill in Menasha and converting facility in Neenah—to reduce water use and significantly improve the quality of water that is discharged back into the environment, known as final effluent. The sites manufacture professional hygiene products sold by Essity’s Tork® brand, including paper towels, napkins and toilet paper.

According to Don Lewis, President, Essity Professional Hygiene, “We all recognize that our industry relies strongly on natural resources—including water—so extra consideration for how we affect the environment is critical. I am proud of our teams for being good stewards of our natural resources—not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

In 2017, Essity’s Midwest Operations Environmental team began an effort to reduce phosphorus and total suspended solids (TSS) in the final water effluent at the Menasha paper mill. The improvements led to a 55% decrease in total phosphorus discharged and 35% decrease in TSS discharged. The team also worked to improve water use at the Menasha mill, which will now be able to recycle up to 30% of otherwise discharged water.

At the Neenah facility, the team cut water usage down by over 52% from a record high in 2017, and by 20% over their 2014 baseline, by rebuilding equipment. The site also rerouted all non-contact cooling water away from direct discharge to the river, which eliminated any source of potential thermal impact.

“Our Neenah and Menasha teams have worked tirelessly to achieve Essity’s Sustainability Goals and to maintain our high standards for water use and effluent quality,” said Rob Harvey, Essity regional site manager. I’m thrilled that their dedication to this project is being recognized by AF&PA and our industry.”


About AF&PA

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at