Spanish paper company Saica has announced the start of production at its new £300m recycled paper mill in Partington, Greater Manchester.

The mill is Saica’s first set up in the UK and has the capacity to produce 400,000t of 100% recycled containerboard a year, with the plant expected to become fully operational in the next couple of months.

SAICA industrial projects director Francisco Carilla said: "We’re obviously delighted to reach this significant milestone – the company’s first reel of sellable recycled paper made in the UK, from UK recovered papers.

"However, this is not the end. We continue to work hard to improve the running of the machine, increase its speed, broaden the range and perfect the paper we produce at Partington."

In order to secure recycled paper feedstock, the company acquired the Stirling Fibre Group, Cutts Recycling and Futur, over the last two years.

It will use the paper from households and businesses to produce containerboard, which is then sent to the company’s box plants to be converted into cardboard boxes.

The company announced its plans to build the mill in mid-2008, around the same time as it bought the bulk of SCA’s corrugated packaging network in the UK, and started trials with its Paper Machine 11 (PM11) in early 2011.

PM11 is the final part of Saica’s plan to become an integrated player in the UK, providing a closed-loop solution for the manufacture of environment-friendly, performance papers and corrugated packaging.