"We produce here in Lilla Edet using recycled paper that contains different impurities," said Gunnar Johansson, quality and environmental manager at the SCA mill in western Sweden. "We screen out worn fibers, paper fillers, ink, metal staples, plastic, sand and even tennis balls." From time to time, employees find another item that does not dissolve in water: paper money.
Burned and re-used
Once that has been pocketed, made from the less exciting impurities gets burned in the mill's boiler-producing steam for drying paper, heat for the plant and a modest amount of electricity.
The -burning process creates another by-product: more than 25,000 tons of ash every year. SCA has been thinking creatively about turning that ash into valuable products. So far, the company is using it as:
Construction material for forest roads
Binder in asphalt
Deep soil stabilizer for roads
Replacement for lime, used to raise the pH of farm soil
As for the actual money, any employee who finds a bill during the screening process gets to keep it. "He or she does not tell," Johansson says.