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Frugalpac’s Fully Recyclable Coffee Cups
Time: 2017-05-25
A coffee cup developed by Frugalpac is designed to be recycled in any paper mill. This will allow on-street disposal in normal recycling bins. Frugalpac is the British innovative packaging company.
200 million cups are used every month in the UK. London’s Square Mile will host the launch of an initiative led by Simply Cups and Hubbub to introduce coffee cup collection facilities across the City, according to Martin Myerscough, Frugalpac’s Chief Executive. The initiative which will run throughout April aims to collect half a million cups over the period.
Frugalpac welcomes any initiative that highlights the issue that only 1 in 400 paper cups is currently recycled. However, the company needs an effective universal solution. While a new collection system for picking up used cups to be recycled may go part of the way to reducing coffee cup waste, it is only likely to make a small dent in the 2.5 billion cups which go to landfill in the UK each year. At present, there are only two places in the whole of the UK that can recycle conventional paper cups. That means that less than 1% of used paper cups actually gets recycled.
More than 2.5 billion coffee cups are currently disposed of in the UK every year. Put them end-to-end and they would go around the world five and a half times, would weigh as much as a battleship and are made from over 100,000 trees. But very few of these cups get recycled and nearly all end up in landfill – that’s 25,000 tonnes of waste a year – enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall. Frugalpac tackles the problem head on. Using a fully recyclable cup is the only viable solution to reduce coffee cup waste on a mass scale.  
Existing cups are made using virgin paper from mature trees. Waterproof chemical agents are added to the paper and a thin layer of plastic film is bonded to this paper while it is flat. The chemical and the film provide the waterproof layer to the cup, without which the cup would leak and disintegrate. This flat paper sheet is then printed and formed into the cup. Because of the added waterproofing chemicals and the plastic layer existing cups require specialist recycling facilities to break them down. The specialist process uses a lot more energy and chemicals than normal paper recycling.
In most countries, once the cups have left the store, there is no mechanism for transporting them to specialist mills. Trials to collect existing cups separately have been conducted but the collection and transport of these cups to the specialist recycling facilities are not scalable. Frugal Cups are made from recycled paper which is formed into a cup first without adding any chemicals to the paper. A thin preformed plastic liner is lightly bonded into the paper cup. The top of the liner is then rolled over the lip of the cup which looks, feels and performs just like the conventional cup.
Because the liner is so lightly glued in place, when the cup goes to the standard paper mills it easily separates from the paper in the recycling process. This means Frugal Cups can be disposed of in current paper and newspaper recycling bins. The paper used to make Frugal Cups can be recycled up to seven times, typically for newspapers.
Source: frugalpac.com