Ground breaking initiative will increase recycling rates for paper cups

Huhtamaki has collaborated with 13 others from across the supply chain for disposable paper cups, to sign an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK).

The agreement will allow consumers to take their used cups to be recycled. ACE UK owns and manages a network of 382 Bring Banks covering 97 local authorities across the UK. These are facilities where consumers can take used paper cups which will then be delivered to ACE UK’s recycling facility in Halifax for reprocessing.  In the second phase of the programme a further 33 recycling points across an additional eight local authorities are scheduled.

Additionally, waste contractors will be able to deliver used cups direct to ACE’s facility for recycling.

This initiative has been driven by the members above all of which are also members of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG). Huhtamaki’s global category director for speciality coffee, and chair of the PCRRG, Neil Whittall, has been part of the team leading discussions on driving and implementing this innovative and game-changing recycling programme.

He said: “This collaborative industry approach, in partnership with ACE UK and funded by the signatories is the first of its kind. It represents the single most significant advance in the UK waste management infrastructure that I can recall in my 25 years in the industry. It will deliver a substantial and measurable advance in the number of cups which are reprocessed.

“There is undoubtedly still a significant amount of work that we at Huhtamaki and the entire supply chain can do to further improve recycling rates for our products and Huhtamaki is now focused on the next steps. Working with the other operators in the supply chain, as with this initiative, ensures that our learning, knowledge and experience is shared and this in turn improves the end results for all stakeholders from the suppliers to the retailers and, crucially, for the end consumers.”

The long term focus of the agreement will be to get cups included in domestic kerbside recycling and to link into waste management company collection programmes.

This collaborative agreement is designed to deliver a long-term solution which complements and builds on the recycling activities achieved by the industry so far. It supports the delivery of the objectives of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group and Foodservice Packaging Association’s ‘Paper Cup Manifesto’ and other pilot schemes. The agreement can be extended to more companies from the paper cup supply chain to further accelerate recycling opportunities.