‘First of its kind’ initiative aims to set new standards in paper cup recycling

HUHTAMAKI and Stora Enso have teamed up on a ‘first of its kind’ paper cup recycling initiative.

The Cup Collective aims to recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale. Initially the programme will be implemented across the Benelux region and an open invitation has been issued for partners from across the supply chain to get involved in working towards a systemic European solution.

The EU has set recycling target for paper and board packaging of 85% by 2030. Paper cups are recyclable but need to be collected before they can be turned into new paper products. The Cup Collective scheme will create the necessary collection infrastructure to increase the recycling rate of wood-fiber in paper cups and make it as easier for consumers and businesses to collect used paper cups to be regenerated.

The first paper cup collection bins will be available in restaurants, caf├ęs, office buildings and transport hubs in Brussels and Amsterdam. The Cup Collective aims to recycle half a billion paper cups in the first two years alone.

The programme is managed by Co-cre8, a UK-based firm with experience in designing and implementing recycling programmes across Europe.

Eric Le Lay, president, fiber foodservice EAO at Huhtamaki, said, “Huhtamaki is a world leader in developing and manufacturing recyclable fiber products. For us, every cup counts. We want to go to the next step and ensure that recyclable cups also get effectively recycled. We have combined the best expertise from Huhtamaki and Stora Enso to create this new vision for industrial scale cup collection and recycling.”

Hannu Kasurinen, EVP, Stora Enso packaging materials division, added, “Stora Enso wants to accelerate the circularity of all packaging materials and we have an excellent foundation to make that happen. The paperboards we make are designed to be recycled and our own production sites, including Langerbrugge in Belgium, can process and recycle paper cups into new fiber-based products. By partnering with Huhtamaki and Co-cre8 we will now be able to provide a platform to collect and capture the value of paper cup fibers on an industrial scale.”