New Life For Used Paper Towels New Life For Used Paper Towels


“This is not toilet paper – it’s actually hand towels”, is printed on the tape around a roll of toilet paper. The use of paper towels generates a lot of waste at Commerzbank every day. This is where one of the Bank's sustainability projects takes place. Since 2016, over 157 tonnes of paper have been recycled instead of being thrown away (status as of 2022). Therefore Commerzbank has implemented a project named “Tork PaperCircle” by Essity, a Swedish manufacturer of hygienic paper products. This project was honoured with the European Paper Recycling Award.

Paper towels are used in the washrooms for hygienic reasons and because of their easy handling in logistics. When it comes to procurement, Commerzbank pays attention to the certification of the "Forest Stewardship Council" (FSC) and thus supports environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable forestry. Furthermore the reuse of the paper saves raw material, reduces greennhouse gas emissions and saves about 20 percent of residual waste.

For the recycling process, the used paper towels are transported once a month to a paper mill near Mainz, where they are brought back to life as toilet paper. Effective recycling requires a strict separation by our employees: the quota of paper towels in the respective containers is 98 percent. Following successful piloting, the recycling project has now been expanded to 15 offices of Commerzbank.