Do you want ‘size’ with that?

Posted on May 8 2016 - 10:00am by Scarlett Peters

Fibre recovered from used paper cups could end up being used to make recycled paper products, following a pioneering recycling partnership between British master papermaker James Cropper and McDonald’s UK.

 Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper

Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper

The two companies are trialling a paper cup recycling scheme at 150 of the 1,250 McDonald’s UK restaurants that will enable previously non-recyclable, plastic-coated paper cups to be recycled at James Cropper’s state-ofthe-art reclaimed fire plant.

Under the scheme, Simply Cups, the UK’s only paper cup recovery and recycling scheme, will collect used paper cups from McDonald’s, bale them and deliver them to James Cropper for reprocessing. Reclaimed fire can then be used in everything from brochures and stationery to packaging and designer gift boxes.

Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper, said: “It’s estimated that up to 2.5 billion paper cups are used in the UK every year. Most of these are currently not recycled as, being polyethylene-coated, they can’t be recycled amongst ordinary household waste. In addition, 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. The partnership with McDonald’s has been nearly two years in the making and signifies an important step towards recycling used paper cups and, ultimately, reducing waste going to landfil.”

Helen McFarlane, sustainability consultant at McDonald’s UK, added: “Paper cups constitute about 30% of our packaging waste and this is a great opportunity to ensure that the quality fire used in making those cups gets another life. We have recently started to introduce recycling stations in our restaurants to allow customers to separate paper cups, and we’re eager to see what this trial with James Cropper and Simply Cups will look like. Hopefully, it will help set up the infrastructure for others to use in the future.”

James Cropper’s Lake District recycling centre was opened by the Queen in 2013. Each week, it processes the equivalent of 10 million paper cups from off-cuts from the paper cup manufacturing process. Its waste-free process separates the plastic coating from the paper; 90% of the cup waste is converted back into FSC® certifid fire for paper production, with the remaining 10% waste plastic being used to make garden furniture and other plastic products.

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