Innovate Blog
Sustainable Future factsheet explores sustainable options on paper hot cups

Thursday June 14, 2018

It’s gradually becoming common knowledge that it’s not as easy to recycle takeaway coffee cups as people may have thought. The mixture of paper and plastic in their inner lining – designed to make them both heat and leakproof – causes difficulties.

Launched this week, our latest Sustainable Future factsheet presents a recommendation on the most environmentally responsible paper cup solution, based on the UK’s developing recycling infrastructure for paper cups.

The factsheet explores four material-type options: reCUP cups made with 48% less plastic, PE lined cups, reusable cups and compostable cups, giving our customers clear information to make informed decisions on which cup option is best for their operation.

  • Offer reCUP paper hot cups. Made with an innovative barrier coating for paper cups called EarthCoating™, the reCUP uses 48% less plastic than a standard PE lined paper cup and is fully recyclable when disposed of in a dedicated paper cup waste stream.
  • Offer PE lined paper hot cups, which thanks to significant industry investment in the ACE UK recycling facility, are now more widely recyclable and command an increased market value as recycled paperboard material. Segregate from mixed recyclables to avoid the issue of contamination and send for recycling as a dedicated paper cup waste stream.
  • Where it is practical, offer the option of a reusable hot cup. Generally made from glass, plastic or metal, with insulation properties, reusable cups are an environmentally responsible solution when a single-use product is not required.
  • Offer compostable paper hot cups carrying EN13432 certification. Compostable hot cups must be disposed of along with food in a dedicated food waste bin and sent to an industrial composter licensed to take the material. Speak to your waste provider.

Since joining Simply Cups in 2015, a collection and recycling service dedicated to turning paper cups into second-life materials, we’ve played an active role introducing this scheme to our customers.

More recently, we’ve signed an agreement with ACE UK to increase PE lined paper cup recycling. Over two stages, this initiative will offer consumers access to a network of Bring Banks to recycle their used paper cups, and crucially provide the right incentives and access for all waste contractors to deliver paper cups to the ACE facility.

Joanna Gilroy, Head of Sustainability, Bunzl Catering Supplies, comments: “There’s still much confusion around the recycling of foodservice disposables, and the responsible disposal of paper cups has been at the forefront of much debate. Our new Sustainable Future factsheet on cups helps foodservice operators understand the material-type options available, with fact-based information to help them make an informed decision.”

Our factsheet series forms part of our commitment to providing our customers, and the wider industry, with fact-based, jargon-free information on food packaging waste and recycling as part of our Sustainable Future 2018 programme.

Please contact us today for more information about our Sustainable Future 2018 programme and to discuss our wide range of sustainable paper cup options.

Sustainable Future Cups Factsheet

Sustainable Future Sandwich Packaging Factsheet

Sustainable Future Straws Factsheet