The Tiukka Mill in Kristiinankaupunki, Finland, is Stora Enso’s smallest site and carries a long and storied history. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2022, the mill was originally established to provide employment opportunities for local youth, preventing them from migrating to Sweden in search of work.
Kristiinankaupunki plant manager Minna Hildén explains that in the countryside, only the eldest child in a family had the option to take over a family farm, leaving younger siblings to seek employment elsewhere.
Coinciding with this, local farmers began favouring corrugated board boxes over traditional wooden ones for transporting their products, which led to the decision to produce corrugated boxes at the mill.
Naming the mill proved to be an interesting task. The goal was to emphasise the universal nature of the packaging products, leading to the consideration of the words “universal” and “förpakning” (Swedish for “package”).
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However, when combined, the name seemed too long. A local resident’s suggestion at a coffee party led to the adoption of the name “Uni-Pak,” by which the mill is still known today. It is often referred to as “the Tiukka mill” by locals.
Diversification and growth
Over the years, the Tiukka mill has expanded its production beyond corrugated boxes. In 1969, a sewing workshop called Uni-Cell was established at the mill, providing employment opportunities, particularly for the women in the village.
In 1985, Enso-Gutzeit acquired the mill, and in 2001 it became part of Stora Enso’s packaging division. The original 400m² plant has grown into an industrial area spanning 9,000m² in 2023.
The Tiukka mill is known for its multilingual workforce, with almost 20% of its employees coming from different national backgrounds. Among the Finnish employees, Swedish speakers predominate, reflecting the plant’s location in Ostrobothnia.
The plant operates in Finnish, Swedish and English, and occasionally other languages such as Filipino or Estonian are heard when workers share a common language.
The Tiukka mill’s setting is picturesque, alongside a riverside with 19th-century farmhouses on the opposite bank offering a serene work environment. The city centre is only eight kilometres away,
High-quality food packaging
Today, the Tiukka mill primarily focuses on converting corrugated board packaging for the domestic food and beverage industry.
Its raw material, corrugated sheets, is supplied directly from Stora Enso’s Lahti mill. Among its notable products is the iconic five-kilogram strawberry box, and it also manufactures the packaging for tomatoes and cucumbers that is frequently seen in grocery stores and markets.
These products meet strict quality requirements as they come into direct contact with food and must ensure safety and hygiene.
Sustainability and innovation
The mill prioritises sustainability by using recyclable materials and ensuring that their packaging can be recycled. Corrugated cardboard is fully recyclable, and waste materials are repurposed to create cores for paper and board reels.
To further reduce its carbon footprint, the plant is transitioning from oil heating to ground heating. Their goal is to become the first carbon-neutral Stora Enso mill in the Nordic countries.