Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Sustainability

Paper Cup Recyclability

One million disposable cups now recyclable but only in these bins.

Paper cups (and the wider polyethylene coated fibre category) present a problem for paper mills – the traditional route to recycle used fibres, given that the polyethylene lining either results in the material being rejected from their process and/or significantly reducing their yield (and therefore their financial return). As such, paper mills typically categorise used paper cups (and any polyethylene coated paper) as a contaminant.

As a result (and prior to the availability of specialist reprocessing facilities in the UK), there has been no local market for used paper cups and therefore no investment has been made in the required mechanical solution at sorting facilities to extract paper cups from a co-mingled recyclable stream.

To complement the current solutions offered by specialist fibre reprocessing facilities, Simply Cups has been investigating alternative options to recover resource from used paper cups. And as a result of a partnership with ashortwalk and Nextek, we now have the ability to compound used paper cups into new polymers, without the need to separate the paper from the plastic lining, that significantly widens the opportunities to manufacture of new functional products from this material.

 

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