This study was designed to apply cleaner production concepts in a Turkish pulp and paper mill, for the first time in Turkey, to introduce the concept as well as to provide a framework for future initiatives. To achieve this objective a comprehensive waste reduction audit was conducted at SEKA Balikesir pulp and paper mill. First, audit schemes from different sources were examined and compiled that resulted in the methodology employed in this work. The audit covered water emissions and water usage. Then, the collected data were compared with international environmental performance indicators from other companies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe. This comparison provided specific opportunities for improvement at different processes in the mill. For each viable opportunity, different waste reduction measures were analyzed and determined. Furthermore, the benefits of the identified waste reduction options were analyzed for increasing production efficiency and achieving target raw effluent pollution loads from the mill. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.