British master papermaker James Cropper, owning the only facility in the UK capable of recycling standard coffee cups, recently featured on BBC One’s War on Waste. Because of Liverymen Sir James and Mark Cropper's involvement we asked the company to comment.   Richard Burnett, Market Development Manager from James Cropper, now explains their role in the supply chain.

“At James Cropper, we’re crucially aware of the requirement for brands to reduce their carbon footprint by operating in the most environmentally-friendly ways possible. When it comes to coffee houses and fast food retailers, the paper cups typically used for hot and cold beverages have made the new headlines as they cannot be recycled amongst general paper waste due to their polyethylene coating. In the UK alone, around 2.5 billion paper cups are used every year!”

“As keen innovators who are constantly searching for solutions to suit market and customer demands, we launched our award-winning Reclaimed Fibre Plant in 2013 to tackle this problem. We developed the technology to separate the two components and generate no wastage whatsoever – 90 per cent of the cup waste is converted back into paper and the remaining 10 per cent of plastic is recycled into other plastic products. The process is quick and clean and all chemicals used are neutralised by the end of the process. We currently process around one and a half tonnes of material per hour, which equates to 10 million paper cups per week.”

“At the moment, most of the material that is currently recycled is post-industrial waste, made up of off-cuts or defective items from disposable beverage cup production. Recycling of post-consumer waste, those cups that have been used and disposed of, is in its early stages.  Collecting used paper cups for recycling has been problematic due to the nature of their use – they’re used on the go and are often taken away from the place of purchase.”

“We have recently signed up to the Paper Cup Manifesto, working closely with organisations across the entire paper cup supply chain to secure workable and sustainable solutions to reclaim the high-quality fibre in used paper cups. We’ve invested heavily in the development of our recycling facility and are running a number of trials, including one with McDonald’s UK, to monitor and assess the quality of the incoming material. This signifies an important step to reclaim the fibre from used paper cups to make paper that will be made into everything from brochures and stationery to designer gift boxes.”

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